I’m laughing before I even write this post. Here again, I planned another “photo op.” This one wasn’t as simple as the first one, even though it involved far fewer people. It seemed that the other one just kind of fell into place. This one, however, took much more planning and stress to pull off. For one thing, we had absolutely no excuse to get “dressed.” In the previous “photo op”, we were going out to eat anyway. We were eating-in this particular evening, so getting dressed was only for the purpose of picture taking. I recall Aunt Susan yelling up to Mama telling her that she better hurry or we were going to miss sunset, and therefore miss all the good photo opportunities. At the moment she was yelling this, I was running out the door with my camera and tripod in hand so that I could go ahead and “set up” before they got down there.
When Mama, Aunt Susan and Brittain arrived at the beach, the plan was to take some natural, action shots and perhaps a few posed ones with the tri-pod. The end result of the pictures cracked me up. I’m sure you will think that there are a TON of pictures here, but could you have guessed that there were actually 288 pictures taken this particular evening? I narrowed it down to 20 to include on the blog. Why, you ask? Well, there were some where Brittain was just NOT into being photographed. Understandable. Then there were some were the wind was clearly blowing in the wrong direction because our hair was TOTALLY messed up. Understandable again. But, the main reason I couldn’t include more than 20 pictures is because of this:
Now…you might be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. If you are, that’s good, because I do think this is a good picture. But, if you look closely and focus on my mother’s mouth, you will see that I caught a photo where she is talking. Yes, it happens. When you’re attempting to take photojournalistic types of pictures, you’re bound to catch a few where someone is in mid-sentence. But I don’t believe it ever happens as much as it did that evening. It happened so much that it’s quite hilarious. I mean, come on, I said to act “natural.” Why couldn’t she just act “fake natural” and just stand there and totally pose and smile like the rest of us? We make things difficult. That’s what we do.
Anyway, here are the 20:
Believe it or not, this was NOT posed. Aunt Susan somehow captured this. There was a brief moment where Brittain was calmly sitting in my lap and I was excited with the thought that it could be a great picture of the two of us. But, before Aunt Susan could snap the picture, mom ran up behind us (in attempt to be funny) to do a sort of “rabbit ears” thing…except that it was SO not funny. So, the opportunity was immediately gone because Brittain jumped up to run off. In this picture you see Mama trying to be funny, me getting mad at her for messing up the picture, and Brittain running off for something more exciting.:
I LOVE these next 3 pictures. Brittain wasn’t into the picture taking, but she would laugh every time I would run back and forth from the camera to set the timer. So, I finally started running with her in my arms and she absolutely loved it! (Aunt Susan caught these):
On Monday, everyone left to go back home except for me, Brittain and Mama. Then, Aunt Susan arrived to spend the rest of the week. We hated to see everyone leave (in fact, I cried for most of that day), but we were thrilled to see Aunt Su Su.
One of the decisions that was made prior to the trip was that the three of us would take turns with Brittain. For me, the thing I was most looking forward to was being able to sleep late. So, it was decided that we would all split “taking care of Brittain” time. We would get equal beach time and equal sleep time. In the end, I came out on the better end of this deal. Aunt Susan is a morning person, so even if someone else had “morning duty” with Brittain, Aunt Susan would also wake up and convince the “on duty” person to go back to bed. This might not sound like a big deal to most of you, but you should know that Brittain woke up at 6:00 a.m. on the nose every day. I only tried to argue with Aunt Susan about this one day. The rest of the time I gratefully accepted the opportunity to go back to sleep. In addition to this, my mom took over as the “main mother” of the condo. She did all the laundry (sometimes washing towels before you even had the chance to use them) and even kept up with keeping Brittain’s sippy cups clean (which is not an easy task). The week was just what I needed to have a break and come back home feeling rejuvenated.
When Aunt Susan wasn’t busy carrying buckets of water back and forth to Brittain whenever Brittain would say, “I need more water,” she was swimming in the ocean. One day after we got home, I asked Brittain if she had a good time at the beach and she started talking about all the water, and swimming in the water (which she didn’t do), and so on and so on. She then paused as if to remember that no, it wasn’t her that did the swimming, it was Aunt Susan. So, she corrected herself by looking up at me and saying, “Oh. Aunt Su Su went swimming in big water.”
As you can see, there is some deep concentration going on here:
Okay, you caught me, I’m lying. I totally backdated this blog post so it would seem like I was blogging from the beach. The truth is that I had great intentions of doing this, but I saw right from the beginning that this was probably not going to happen. This was mainly due to the fact that most evenings, if you drove by the townhouse and could see in, you would (a) see me in a beach chair directly in front of the front door (sometimes with it open),(b) see me sitting on a specific step on the staircase inside (in what was eventually known as our version of a “wi-fi area”), or (c) swinging from the balcony–all in an effort to obtain a wireless internet signal. The last one isn’t real, but there were a few times that I thought I was this desperate because of the NO INTERNET CONNECTION problem. Thank goodness for “beachykeen,” whoever he might be. Although spotty, his unsecured network was the only one I could count on being there. That being said, I found out early that my butt could not handle that staircase step long enough to write a blog post. Because we all know how long my blog posts can be.
Gosh, I’m really getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a little and say thanks to Pappy and some other members of the family, we now have a townhouse at the beach! Yay! The townhouse at Mexico Beach was purchased a few months ago and it was finally time to take advantage of this place and have a vacation! During the days leading up to the departure day I had feelings of excitement, stress, and sometimes pure dread. I went from thinking, “This is going to be the greatest trip ever!” to “Vacations are way too much trouble and I’d just rather stay home.” I’m glad I decided not to do this.
Because Griffin Choral Arts was performing the night we were planning to leave, Dan and I made the “we’re still new at this parenting thing” decision that it would be much easier on us if we drove IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT instead of waiting until the next morning. We had it all planned out. Leave at 10 p.m.. Brittain would fall asleep and stay that way the rest of the 5-hour drive. Arrive at the townhouse and immediately put her in bed. Unpack the car. Go to sleep. You see where this is going, don’t you!? Well, so part of this went as planned. The drive down was perfect. She slept the entire way. Dan drove and I had planned on snoozing along with Brittain, but I guess I was still experiencing an adrenaline rush from the concert, or perhaps I was that excited about the long awaited vacation, because I was wide awake the entire time. We finally arrived in Mexico Beach at 3:00 a.m. We parked and Dan carefully and quietly got Brittain out and took her directly upstairs to her bed. Nope! Wasn’t happening. Surprisingly, we both laughed. We figured that this was our vacation for goodness’ sake. It’s okay if she stays up a little while. I mean, it’s 3:00, she’ll have to go back to sleep at some point, right? This giddiness waned as the sleeping hours continued to disappear. It went kind of like this:
3:00 a.m. – Arrival with Brittain waking up and not wanting to go back to sleep.
3:45 a.m. – Crying. LOTS of crying because Aunt CC had woken up to come and greet us and then went back to bed. The going back to bed thing was not what Brittain had in mind. Fortunately, we were still in fairly good moods, so we tried laughing her out of it. I still have the image of Dan standing up and doing some kind of hilarious “jig” to get her to stop crying.
4:30 a.m. – Crying someone subsided, but still NO SLEEPING. Dan threatened to give her a half a Benadryl so that she would go to sleep. Yes, a half of an ADULT Benadryl. I informed him of the death of the two year old that would probably happen by giving her this kind of dose before taking the first “shift.”
5:30 a.m. – I am SO done with my shift after I had balanced my laptop on my leg in bed so that Brittain could watch Noggin videos. I walked in the room where Dan was sleeping and informed him that it was his shift.
9:00 a.m. – I wake up still very much tired, but much more awake than Dan is at this point. (He let me “sleep in”). We had the realization that it was NOT a good start to the trip, but we were at the beach and yay! this was going to be so much fun. We started all over again.
After eating breakfast and getting lotioned up, we headed to the beach where Brittain would be seeing and experiencing the sand and ocean for the first time! It was so exciting and I was ecstatic that Cecilia and Matt were there to also witness it. There’s just no way to describe the feeling from that day. It was wonderful being there with family and…SO much fun…and let’s face it, the homemade pina coladas that Cecilia made certainly didn’t hurt a thing!
Her first steps on the beach!:
It was obvious on this first day how different a vacation this was going to be because we were only able to stay out for an hour or two so that the two year old wouldn’t get sunburned and hate us for the rest of our lives. But it was worth it.
She could hardly believe her eyes. For the rest of the trip, she referred to the beach as “The Big Sandbox.”:
I know. They kind of look like “my two gay dads”…but aren’t they cute?!:
On the first day Brittain experienced the ocean a little bit with her dad. She tolerated it, but it wasn’t her favorite part of the trip and she never did it again the rest of the 8 days we were there.:
Me, Dan, Brittain, Cecilia, and Matt all arrived on Thursday night. Mama and Daddy came down the next day. This was day 2 at the beach. Brittain felt that she was too good to walk on the beach. She had to either be rolled in her wagon or carried by someone on foot.:
Thank goodness that my sister and her husband are so organized! The most planning I had done for food was making sure I had some spagettios and milk for Brittain. Cecilia and Matt planned and brought food for the whole trip (which was nice since there really wasn’t a grocery store around there to speak of). Saturday night was our going-out-to-eat night, so we went to a restaurant called Toucans. Since we were all dressed in something other than our bathing suits, I took advantage of the opportunity and got some family pictures. Yes, I brought along the tripod and set it up (I’m sure we were quite a sight). Unintentionally, we timed it perfectly with the sunset:
This place was a parent’s dream because they had a playground set up right by the restaurant. This was wonderful for children who need something to do while waiting on the table to be ready (which she did) and also for children who wouldn’t last more than 30 seconds at the table (which she didn’t):
My favorite picture from the vacation: