We went on our first vacation in 6 years (Lil just turned 5, so you do the math). She was a terrible traveler for the first couple of years of her life and would scream for hours on end - even on short trips to the mountains. We also went from 2 salaries to 1 and didn't feel we had the cash for any big trips. Before you feel too sorry for us, I should point out that we spend a lot of time in the mountains and at Lake Chatuge with Alan's family, which is always lovely. But, as for a vacation to a new place that we plan and save money for, we haven't been on one since our trip to Scotland and England in 2003.
So, we went to St. George Island, which is near Apalachicola, Florida in the gulf. It's a barrier island, 28 miles long and 2 miles wide, with a beautiful state park on one end. The beach was clean, the water clear, and the island quite private. We rented a house on the beach and got off-season rates because we went the last week in April and stayed Sunday through Thursday instead of a weekend. We spent hours walking up and down the beach and watching Lil build sandcastles.
Alan's sister, Teresa, and her boyfriend, John, were able to join us for 3 nights. This allowed Alan and I to take a walk on the beach at night while they watched the sleeping kids.
That's something I miss very much and completely took for granted before having kids - going on long walks together, without having to hire a babysitter. Teresa and John also helped cook, clean, and play with the kids, which made me feel like I was on vacation. Together we cooked a delicious seafood boil and also enjoyed fresh grouper one night.
St. George Island has turned me into a beach person. I came back a more calm, joyful, and well-balanced person. I like this new person and I want her to stay.