Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Long Weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida

Claire has officially and successfully checked off her first flight. She was 12 weeks for hers and Benjamin was 6 weeks.
Benjamin also had a first. A first time sitting in his own seat. Logically, he only wanted out of it nonstop.

One of my children managed a peaceful flight both ways. And the other one... well there have been worse, but not by much. Turns out 25-month olds can still be annoying in their own seats. It didn't help that our flights were during his sleeping times for both leaving and returning.

But you know the Wilsons... nothing stops us from getting out of dodge to warmer temps and sunshine! The husband had a work conference and I usually tag along for this one as it is somewhat spouse/family-friendly. They have a suite setup just for wives to chit-chat, and even plan events for the wives to attend while the husbands are away listening to speakers and networking. I attended some of these events last year in Carslbad, but this time I had two kids with me and no grandparents to help. We managed to attend the first dinner reception with the kiddos, but the rest of the formal dinners had me flying solo.

We had some pretty great highlights of the trip and some not-so-great ones... let's start with the not-so-great:
  • Leaving our backpack with Elliot's work laptop (read: very important), iPad (loaded with all of Benjamin's flight entertainment I was banking on), all of our snacks, camera charger, and all of Benjamin's stickers/books/toys that I meticulously packed. It was recovered where we left it in the airport parking shuttle bus. Too bad we noticed just as we were putting our things on the TSA security belt (because we didn't have a laptop to take out). It was just too late. 
  • Leaving Benjamin's very favorite monkey Aden & Anais blanket & Claire's brand new bee Aden & Anais blanket along with my nursing cover and a bottle of breastmilk in the children's play area at Tampa Bay's airport. I've called twice and they have not been returned. Possibly discarded. And it feels sort of violating. I know they're just blankets, but my kiddos love them and they're worn in all the right places and theirs. Not to mention the monkey blanket was a gift for Andrew we received from good friends just before he was born. Bummed. 
  • This forgetting business frustrates me so much. I'm so organized and when I forget something, it takes awhile for me to get over it. I remember the moment I forgot the blankets because Benjamin was running over and attempting to pull the airport fire alarm and ugh. If we weren't busy chasing him in a fury, I would've checked. Also, it seems to be a trend with these business trips. I forgot the iPad in our hotel room in Carlsbad back in October. Thankfully, that was recovered and returned.
  • We hit up a farmer's market that had amazing potential, but both of the kids were at their melting points. It was past lunch, everyone was hungry, and it was Florida hot. I don't regret going, I just wish emotions weren't so... ugly.
Now for the great ones:
  • We stayed at the Renaissance Marriott Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg. It was phenomenal. It's a gorgeous hotel, but the room was the best part-- enormous and just perfect for what we need with two kids in tow. We ordered a rollaway for Benjamin and he slept great in it for two nights and one nap. The third night was in the crib (also ordered for calm-down time and used!) because he was being an escapee way too many times at like 11 p.m. He did fall out of the rollaway once, but it's only a foot drop compared to the large beds which are like 3 feet from the ground. We just lined the ground with pillows. And the rest of the naps were stroller naps on the go.
  • Claire slept in her carseat with the Ergo infant insert and her Halo Sleepsack Swaddle and slept through the night all three nights (for the first time!). I had to wake her after 10+ hours to feed her! Now she is back to waking. Wuh wuh. We put her in the bathroom as not to wake Benjamin and it worked.
  • Ordering room service with Benjamin. His first experience and I was not about to let the food go to waste. He's so picky, so I ordered what I hoped would be a hit: chocolate milk, french fries, mac'n cheese, pasta marinara with broccolini (which I ate... wasn't sure what he would choose of the two). I did ask him what he wanted for dinner and he told me "cake". While we did not order any, he had his fair share of treats on this trip, don't worry. As hoped, he loved room service. 
  • I spent our second day there with Darcey and her rainbow toddler, Layton. We went to Lowry Zoo and had a really nice time connecting. They're definitely a family I could see us being good friends with if we were more local. Margaritas, beach days... 
  • We visited the St. Petersburg Children's Museum and Benjamin loved it. No surprise there, of course.
  • Lots of sunshine, warm temperatures, beach and regular walks, poolside relaxation...
  • They had a red trolley (just like Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood!) that made a stop in front of our hotel. For $.50, you could ride a few miles before it drops you back off at the hotel. Benjamin loves transportation vehicles. Especially buses/trolleys. We rode it to dinner one night, the farmer's market the next day, and on our last day, we rode it just because! The trolley driver was super nice and Benjamin was contained and happy. It was relaxing for me because he couldn't escape and Claire would sleep soundly.
trolley + hotel

hanging out poolside

zoo with friends

a couple rainbow 2-year old terrors doing their thing.

children's museum action-- rubber pellet sand! super cool and a blast to play in.

room service + sibling love

at the children's museum: news desk, fire truck, enormous tree house/slide, grocery store with registers!
Now we're back to Chicago where the high won't even break 40 degrees today and I'm staring at SNOW on my deck that fell yesterday. It's flurrying right now. Next year this same conference is being held in Napa Valley, CA. To say I am excited about that trip is a huge understatement. I'm hoping to get a few of my BLM friends on board for a little meetup and I'll definitely be dropping the kids with the grandparents to have some adult wine tasting fun.


Flmgodog said... [Reply to comment]

Looks like a fun trip except for those "mind slips".

We are taking all three kiddo's to St. Pete this summer. It will be crazy hot but I don't care. We took a trip to St. Pete right after our loss in 2011, it was meant to be a escape from life trip though as it turned out I had just found out the day before that I was pregnant with the twins.

Thanks for highlighting some new fun places to try while in St. Pete

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Looks like such fun and I'm so glad (and totally jealous) that Claire slept so well for you!

When does E have to go to Savannah for work? :)

Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

WE had such a great time...I love the pic where B has his leg on Layton. I told my husband it was so sweet how B kept trying to hold his hand and my grinch toddler wanted nothing to do with it...typical! Thanks for spending one of your vaca days with us. Next time definitely margaritas and beach!!!