My sister-in-law, Susannah, arranged for us to stay for free in her dad's resort condo at Pensacola Beach. It was an opportunity too good to miss and one we'll never regret.
We drove there. Yikes! It took 2 long days with a 5-year-old. Whatever misgivings I had about doing that were fortunately wrong. He did great! Some of it was due to tons of activities that I brought along but more of it was due to the kid himself and his ability to entertain himself and us.
Because of my history of blood clots, we stopped every 2-3 hours so I could walk. While inconvenient, it was kind of fun as we got to see a little bit of the states we visited along the journey (shout out to Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama!). A few snippets of memory from our excursions: the John Dillinger museum in Indiana, the ladies bathroom designated "next to the Jeff Gordon," missing the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville and the fresh peaches off the trees in Alabama, Jeff's refusal to stop in Nashville, boiled peanuts and their lack of appeal, Dreamland BBQ in Montgomery, seeing the outside of the US Space and Rocket Center on the way back, lightning striking twice above our car in Florida, visiting the entrance to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, geodes in Kentucky...
We were on the 18th floor of the beautiful condo overlooking the ocean. It was gorgeous. It was slow as all the families were getting their kids back to school. We jumped waves, found seashells, started teaching Aidan to swim in the swimming pool, saw a sea turtle, ate badly, caught a mystery fish/ray/shark in a bucket, saw the Blue Angels (and the awesome Navy museum), relaxed. It was fantastic. Aidan, who is a great eater, tried shrimp and crab legs. I went to the beach to watch the sunrise one day (pictured above).
I have lots of pictures and hope to upload them to Flickr soon.
Our family has been a bit tightly wound since Aidan was born and this opportunity was one we needed but realize is exceedingly generous and fortunate. It gave us a chance to regroup, refocus on what we know is important and feel joy and happiness again. Thank you Susannah, Jim, and Deborah.