Sippy Cups and Floaties Days, Chardonnay in a Dixie Cup Nights

If we ever doubted for a nanosecond our decision to be “through at two” kids, it was firmly sealed while on vacation last weekend with many tears shed by Miss C over an overpriced foam lion mask accidentally torn by Miss A about five minutes after pulling out of the zoo parking lot. This was quickly followed by a coughing jag suffered by Miss A and the subsequent removal of her frozen lemonade and vomit soaked Old Navy sundress in a CVS parking lot in Pensacola Beach. Of course, being the prepared mother of the year, I had packed no change of clothes for the day so she rode back to the condo in nothing but a fresh diaper. We had been on our way to meet my dad and stepmother for lunch after our morning at the zoo but couldn’t call them to take a raincheck because I had left my cell phone back at the condo, the hubby didn’t have my stepmother’s cell phone number programmed in his phone, and neither of us knew the number. Luckily they called us when we no showed at the restaurant.

These are the family vacation bloopers you don’t capture on video tape. And much like the early months of parenting, these are the memories that will fall by the wayside. Instead, they’ll be replaced by happy memories such as Miss C’s newfound confidence in the pool and her dog paddling for the first time with the help of water wings.

Other than that very angst filled post-zoo episode, which I blame on wandering around in the heat all morning and breathing in one too many rhino poop fumes, we had a great trip. I’ll admit, though, that more than once the hubby and I caught ourselves wistfully imagining vacationing at the beach when the girls are older and more independent. While there is a part of me that looks forward to the days when packing for our beach vacation doesn’t include making sure we have enough diapers, of both the regular and swim variety, there is also a part of me that will miss the sippy cups and floaties at the beach days.

My dad and stepmother have owned vacation property in the same area of Florida for more than 20 years. It hit me profoundly over the weekend how much I have changed in those years, while the sand and surf has remained relatively unchanged, despite a few party crashers from Mother Nature (Opal, Ivan, and Dennis). As a teenager I used to troll for boys and live for hitting the strip in the closest tourist trap town and achieving the perfect tan. As a mother I just want to relax with my family and make it through the day without any temper tantrums or painful sunburns.

Now we as a family are making our own special memories. We have a photo, just the hubby and I and Miss C, from 2004 at Papa’s Beach, our first trip as a family. Little did I know I was barely pregnant with Miss A and we’d be returning as a family of four two years later. And now we are already talking about a return visit this fall.

The ocean has a way of soothing the soul, even when it is worn down by one too many “Mommy, catch me!” requests from the side of the pool.


  1. Linda says:

    Isn’t the beach great? Other than our day at the medical clinic instead of the water park (swimmer’s ear for the 8 year-old), we had a glorious time. I wish we were planning a return trip this fall!

  2. Library Mama says:

    I, too, loved this post, Jamie. I know what you mean about missing the sippy cups and floaties.

    Still, my experiences have shown me that every stage is my favourite. Sorry if that seems Pollyanna-ish, but I find myself feeling as if life will never be as comfy as it is now. Then, two years later, I realize that life is still just as comfy.

    Sorry about the post-zoo experience. I know what that can be like. Luckily you have an amazing sense of humour that helps you love life, no matter how many curveballs it throws you.

  3. Bridgett says:

    Stability makes such a difference, doesn’t it (making traditions, going back to the same spot again and again). We have a place in the Ozarks like that, every year, the same place, the same view–it gets in the blood.

  4. Jill says:

    I just love it when other people write things like “I didn’t pack a change of clothes” and “my kid wore nothing but a diaper”. Before my son was born I used to fret over things like not having extra diapers in the car. These days you will find my son eating every meal in just a diaper because it’s much easier than changing his clothes for the 86th time. And sometimes I don’t even wait until night time for the Chardonnay! I loved this post. hee-hee

  5. Richie Ann says:

    It is bittersweet. You look forward to doing other things when they are older but know that these days with your “little” girls are numbered. It’s so sad they have to grow up so fast.

  6. Holly Schwendiman says:

    The timing of this post is great. The conversation with dh and myself is much the same. As we prepare to go back to the beach since our last visit 3 years ago we’re smiling from ear to ear knowing how much more relaxing and fun it will be with independent and good kids! No more packing diapers and swimmers and a U-Haul sized stash of baby/kid stuff. Gameboys are all that are needed now. LOL Here’s to times and seasons, the things that change and the things that don’t. 😉


  7. Blonde Mom says:

    Well I’m so glad ya’ll understand. On the one hand I don’t want “my babies” to grow up, but on the other hand I’m so looking forward to Miss A being potty trained and no longer lugging all the diaper paraphernalia around!!!

    Not that I want to wish their childhood away and move on to the “sneaking beer and tattoos stage,” but you know what I mean. 😉

  8. Pattie says:

    It’s just not a vacation until someone vomits *LOL*
    Oh dear…anyway, Jamie, I really enjoyed this post. The nostalgia of days gone by….reflections about your experiences at the special beach, and now being able to enjoy it with your girls. Heartwarming. Just think, they’ll be “trolling for boys” before you know it! *Ouch*

  9. Ina Lau says:

    I just love the ocean. There is nothing better than playing in
    the sand at the waters edge. My baby was only a few months
    old when we had her see the ocean for the first time and she just
    loved it! I’m pretty sure just because we introduced her to the
    ocean early she is not very afraid of water and that helps at

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