One of Joe's good friends moved from PA to MS a few years ago, we don't go back to PA very often as it is, so it's been like 8 or 9 years since we've seen them, back when we were newlyweds with no kids and we were overseas with the military. (I think we saw them before we left and then after a year when we came back for Christmas, but after that the next time he went to PA, they had moved.) Anyway, they were an hour or so out of the way, but we decided to stop there for the rest of the day/night and then drive the next 3ish hours to Pensacola the next day.
We stopped around 8 am for gas and to change diapers and feed the kids and let Luke walk around for a bit. I think we were in Mississippi by then but not positive. We stopped at a Burger King that was seriously dirty, in a not great area. Whoops. We didn't stay there that long before we hit the road again. The kids got a little fussy but not too bad. Our hotel (also not very nice) wouldn't let us check in until 2 so we went by his friend's house until then. (They knew we were coming.) We pulled into their driveway and his friend wasted no time before he opened the door and scooped out Matthew. We stayed there for a couple hours, ate lunch, then went back to check in to our hotel and take naps. Luke napped. Matthew cried. Joe and I tried to get him to stop crying but he was just a mess. Didn't want to eat. Didn't want to sleep. Didn't seem gassy. Walking didn't help. The swing didn't help. So much for a nap. We went back to Joe's friends and ate dinner and hung out with them for awhile and then left to finally sleep around 8. I should mention that the friends have 3 kids, a middle schooler, elementary school, and preschooler (4). They had a ferret and hamster and so Luke was pretty much in heaven between the two animals although he really wasn't crazy about actually holding either rodent. He kept kissing the hamster cage though and really liked that. Our husky would kill either animal in about .00005 seconds. And Luke LOVES the dang husky, so no rodents for us. Darn. Plus I wouldn't do it until Luke is old enough to take care of it. No thank you!
Our next hotel check in on Monday wasn't until 3 pm so we decided to stop at the Gulf Breeze zoo before checking in, since it was Joe's only real day off. It made me realize we are SO incredibly spoiled to have the "free" (to me, the tax payers of St.Louis pay for it), St.Louis Zoo in our area. Joe was concerned that a few hours wouldn't be enough time to properly see the zoo, until we pulled into the parking lot which was much smaller than even our grocery stores parking lots. The nice thing was you are pretty close to the animals and can feed many of them (including the giraffes), but it was a pretty small zoo. They did have giraffes and a couple tigers and monkeys, plus petting zoo type animals. But their enclosures were much smaller than I am used to seeing at our zoo and for $30 we were kinda underwhelmed. Luke loved it though. He was just happy to be walking around outside, plus the ducks.
Anyway, we ended up going to the hotel after an hour or so at the zoo. Our hotel was super nice, right off the beach, with a gorgeous view of the gulf from our room on the 7th floor. The week was okay. We made it out to the beach the next day for awhile, me carrying Matthew in his car seat, while pulling Luke and our gear in the wagon. Matthew slept, Luke had fun in the sand and was not inclined to go anywhere near the water. Before we left, I took Luke's hand and brought him to the shoreline (we were pretty much the only ones there on the beach and so I was ok w/ leaving Matt in his seat asleep where I could see him while we walked 20ish feet away). Anyway, we were just dipping our toes in, maybe like an inch of water, when the cold water startled Luke though and he fell on his butt. He was not happy about that at all and gladly went in. I let him walk next to me because we could literally walk across the pier and be on the fenced back patio of the hotel and into the hotel, and he did a good job of staying near me and not trashing anything. The other days it was too cool and windy (for Matthew) to go out by the ocean so we took walks, Luke played in some sand on the back patio of the hotel where it was a little warmer, played with play doh on the balcony, Luke played with Lincoln logs that were in the lobby of the hotel with a lot of games for people to play, and just hung out. There was a little more crying on the drive back, especially before we stopped for the night in Nashville, but overall both kids did fantastic and it was a nice change of scenery.
|Luke went and got his dog and went out to the balcony to enjoy the view!|
|Play doh on the balcony|
|View from hotel room|
|Luke loves ducks, the buffalo thing let us pet him.|
|Matthew at the zoo|
|The smart way to feed the goats|
|Luke patted their heads like they were dogs|
|Luke was also entraced with following around this stray bird|