Bright and early at the crack of 10:30 am (just like we planned) on Ruth’s birthday, we left to go see Scott’s many relatives and my aunt and cousins in Florida. Ruth was very excited to “have [her] birthday in Florida.” I had just bought some fall/winter church shoes for Ruth and Rose, and they insisted on wearing them in the car on the way to Lakeland, Florida. We knew that we would spend most of the day in the car, so Scott and I reluctantly agreed. The shoes, specifically, were these . And let me tell you, they are the worst. The girls had to stump around like Frankenstein’s monster to keep the shoes from flying off their feet. And that method wasn’t even always effective. We got some weird looks dragging two girls walking around like their knees didn’t bend into the Chick Fil A when we stopped for lunch.
And the heavens opened up and welcomed us into Lakeland. Apparently, it had been raining nonstop until we arrived. The weather while we were there, however, couldn’t have been more beautiful. Scott’s grandmother and aunt had a birthday cake for Ruth waiting when we got there, and her two little cousins had decorated the place with super hero decorations. They even had sweet gifts for her. She loved it.
On Sunday, we headed to Tampa to go to mass with my aunt and uncle and cousins. Ruth and Rose had no fewer than five false bathroom breaks, and Wren was a holy terror as usual. My uncle ended up walking with Rhea in the back while my cousin chased around after Rose and Wren. Ruth very kindly allowed me to sit through the rest of the mass.
After mass, we headed back to my aunt’s house for some delicious Cuban food and birthday cake for Ruth and my cousin Grace, who also had a birthday that week.
On Monday, Scott’s dad flew into Tampa to visit and help Scott’s grandmother with whatever she needed. Scott and I immediately volunteered to go to Tampa to pick him up and hurried out the door, leaving all the girls with Scott’s selfless aunt and grandmother. It was like a fabulous vacation for us. We chatted all the way to Tampa without constant interruptions coming from the back seat (“Excuse me, mom! I see a cloud!”) and took a leisurely walk from the car to the airport to wait for Paw Paw’s plane to land. Once he arrived, I convinced the men to go get dinner at the Tampa International Plaza’s Bay Street as the traffic heading back to Lakeland was at a standstill. We drove past the gorgeous bay and ate a delicious meal at the Bay Street restaurant. I was on cloud nine. Then, Scott’s aunt sent me a text delicately informing me that Rhea had refused her bottle and was being an all-round stinker, so we hurried back to relieve the beleaguered troops. I could not be more appreciative of Scott’s aunt and grandmother for holding down the fort so that we could escape for a little while. What a blessing.
Monday night I got the text from my dear friend Cody asking if we were ready to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, and the rest is history. BTdubs, I wore these shoes walking all over Disney, and I could not be more pleased with them. It felt like I was walking on clouds, and not a mark was left on my feet. But they also breathe really well and worked perfectly
on the surface of the sun during that hot day.
Tuesday night, Scott’s aunt hosted us and Scott’s childhood friend and his family for dinner. They have a pool in their backyard, so we packed the usual two tons of swimming with toddlers paraphernalia. Wren hates the water and wants nothing to do with it. She even shrieks in protest during her baths. So we strapped her puddle jumper on her and let her waddle around while her older sisters swam with Daddy. There was a ball that she liked to hold in her arms while she waddled. I’m sure, my dear readers, that you have already guessed what happened next. As if in slow motion, I watched her drop her ball in the pool, lean over to reach it, and fall headfirst into the water. I rushed over to the edge of the pool to drag her out. She was wearing her puddle jumper, so she was floating on her back, but I was still anxious to grab her ASAP. It is amazing how difficult it is to fish a toddler out of a pool. I felt like it was taking me forever to get her to shore as she floundered and thrashed. I can only imagine how stressful that would have been if she hadn’t had her puddle jumper on. Needless to say, if her feelings on bodies of water weren’t that of deepest distrust before, that event certainly sealed the deal. She wanted nothing to do with even being near the pool after that.
f you observe Ruth pretending to be a mermaid in the background. Ok, I have no idea what is going on with that last sentence, but the WordPress powers that be have decreed that I cannot fix it, so pretend that it gives my blog whimsy.
We enjoyed some fabulous seafood and Scott’s grandparents’ hospitality. Rhea, however, was totally thrown off her groove being away from home and was waking up every hour all night long. So I can’t say I was totally disappointed to finally be heading home on Sunday and getting some sleep!
Scott had to immediately leave on a business trip on Monday, and I have been single-momming it ever since. It is the worst. Thank goodness for my mom and sisters. I don’t think we would have made it without them helping me with dinner/bath time/bed time (aka, the most hectic and work intensive part of my day which is coincidentally when I am most exhausted.) Counting the seconds until he is home again.