I took these beach bums down to Florida for a little beach and grandparent time. If they don’t look like they belong in the ocean every day, I don’t know who does.
“We going fly on airchain?” Yes Finn, and here’s your iPad.
Really, traveling with these guys is insanely easy. They’ve done it so much. Our travel protocol starts with standing in the Starbucks line for my coffee, a sprinkle donut for the boys to share, and then we find someplace to watch the planes before boarding. Once in our seats, screen time begins. We hold back the devices for this very reason—unlimited iPad viewing is pretty special when you never get it. They don headphones, I pull out my Kindle—this time I finished my silly sci-fi fix, The Atlantis Gene—and everyone is happy. At least 217 snacks are consumed, ginger ale is sipped. Adoring glances shoot my way, exclamations of “Your boys are SO good!” are whispered across aisles.
Until the last ten minutes.
Once that plane is parked and we begin the wait of unloading, our little corner of the plane becomes a cage match. Ethan shouts “Mom, stand up! Let’s get off!” Finn jumps repeatedly back and forth over the arm rest, each time slamming into the seats with a shriek. More moans of “Mooooom, why is this taking so long???” Finn is pounding the headrests and yammering away in the faces of the people sitting behind us.
It’s so obnoxious. Luckily it goes fast. Good thing they are cute.
“We go to the Ocean!” said Finn, 300 times. My parents retrieved us from the airport and took us straight to the beach. Temps were in the low 80s and the water wasn’t freezing. We looked for shells, shark teeth, and a few dead fish, which Finn thought were toys. Dude is fearless, running in the surf and excited about the waves. And he looooves the sand. At one point we caught him stuffing handfuls of sand down his shirt.
Ethan is a master shark tooth hunter. He and grandpa scour the sand for treasures that end up coming home with us and are left in various places around the house before mysteriously disappearing. So we always need more.
Finn’s favorite part?
Rinsing off after some fun at the beach. Good thing the beaches aren’t very busy in this neck of the Gulf, he could play in the water forever.
Shell shops, ice cream, playgrounds, bike rides…we stay busy. Ethan has his own bike down here, one grandma wisely thrifted last year. He and grandpa take off to spot ducks and alligators at the neighborhood pond.
This marks the last time the boys get any kind of super-dyed ice cream, they pooped green for a week. GREEN. That can’t be good.
This visit, we ventured 45 minutes north to the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Grandma did the research, words like alligators and flamingo feeding were thrown around, and it sounded good to us.
We were immediately greeted by a pond filled with about 40 baby alligators.
My kid was in heaven.
They were really cute, swimming around with their wiggling tails. We even PET an alligator during the reptile show. We saw turtles, so many parrots, a bird show, snakes, and lemurs. The park was small, perfectly sized for young kids, but full of things to do and see. There was a playground and sand box in the middle that we finally had to drag the kids out of to continue seeing animals.
The hands-down highlight? Flamingo feeding.
This was REALLY fun for everyone, kids and adults. I couldn’t stop feeding those gorgeous birds, they were so friendly and it was just us and like two other people! We had them all to ourselves! We found it hilarious that they eat from the side of their beaks, so gently. Finn was, again, fearless. Ethan was apprehensive, not wanting to be near those huge, pointy beaks, but we practically forced him to try and he quickly became a flamingo-feeding junkie. So much like his dad.
We stopped at The Old Salty Dog in Sarasota for grouper sandwiches and burgers. The kids were so happy watching animals and feeding flamingos they never even asked for snacks, therefore they were famished. I love when that happens.
The weather was beautiful, warm enough for some pool and beach time to hold us over till spring break, when we’ll be back again, with Dad in tow.
Until then, Ethan will be perfecting his flamingo pose. I think it’s pretty accurate.
We’re enjoying a little beach and sunshine in Florida this week and it’s come to my attention I’ve neglected to share a few amazing things out here on the blog. Several of them have been put to good use on our way here or during our stay so they are top of mind and just couldn’t wait. Here’s the quick gist of what I’m loving this month:
- We’ve been patiently waiting for Netflix to start streaming The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story since I heard about it constantly on my favorite podcasts (Popculture Happy Hour is obsessed with this show, I’ve felt very left out) and from friends. We are cable-less and missed it the first go-round but OMG are we loving it now!! I was a freshman in high school when this all went down so I a) didn’t understand most of it and b) was more consumed with being in high school. So this is like a giant refresh at which Stu and I are in awe. Seeing the details of the case unfold blows our minds, plus the acting is incredible. I’ve cried over Marcia Clark’s storyline…it’s heartbreaking and empowering at the same time. This should be your new binge-worth show!
- I got this adorable Evereve Racerback Dress on sale a couple weeks ago and couldn’t wait to try it out here in Florida. It’s SO comfortable and can be dressed up or down. It’s the perfect length, cut, and looks very summery with a jean jacket and sandals. It comes in several colors and is still on sale, but there aren’t many left. So hurry!
- There’s a published chef in our neck of the woods, specializing in small batch recipes and kind of blowing my mind with her skills. Christina from Dessert for Two has been in my Instagram feed making my hungry every day and her recipes do not disappoint. I love that we can make super simple yet delicious Monster Cookies in a batch of 12, which is so much more manageable when you’re trying to keep things healthy around the house without totally denying treats. I’m pretty sure she and I should be friends but am currently kind of star-struck since she just released her third cookbook last week.
- We only give the boys iPads on car and plane trips—holding them back makes the binge so much more fun—and therefore have tried several headrest holder solutions. All have been returned, they just didn’t work. That is, until I found these by TFY. Not only do these work fabulously in a car, they work on a plane too! We took them on our holiday trip to California and couldn’t stop talking about how amazing they are. I have people stop my on every flight asking where we found them. They come with a case to fit your device (so make sure to order the right one!) and a stretchy, velcro-clad band that wraps around headrests, airplane seat trays, and I’m sure many other things. You stick the device to the band and boom, hands-free. Very easy to remove when you’re in the front seat and kiddos need help, which is often in Finn’s case. Bonus, they are under $20 a piece.
- No doubt you’ve tried or heard of personal shopping services. Stitch Fix, Trendsend (my personal favorite), Wantable (awesome for workout clothes), and LeTote. They’ve becoming increasingly popular because seriously, who likes trying on clothes in a store? Ones you have to pick out yourself? So when I heard about Rockets of Awesome, a personal styling service for kids, I was sold. For a $20 styling fee, you get an adorable suitcase-like box stuffed full of cute clothes based on your child’s preferences (or the preferences you choose for them, let’s be real here). I got one for each of my boys and was thrilled to find several items we could’t live without. They loved opening the boxes and even let me try the clothes on them…something they typically HATE. Your styling fee goes toward the clothes you keep, everything is very reasonably priced and great quality. Customer service is awesome too. Send back whatever you don’t want in a pre-paid bag. Your kid’s wardrobe is instantly infused with some style you won’t see anywhere else. Worth a try, right?
Ok what are you loving this month? Also, I’m just now finishing this and realizing I neglected to talk about any new (to me) music, a topic I’m usually anxious to rave about. What have you been listening to lately?