A couple of weeks ago, the family took it's first vacation as a foursome. Yipes.
We packed up our stuff, and went down to visit my best friend, who lives in a sleepy suburb of Tampa with her husband, 4 teenagers, 2 cats and 2 dogs.
Objective - Cape Canaveral, and the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Dave had tried as hard as he could to get tickets so that we could be on NASA property for the launch, but they sold out in minutes. As the shuttle program gets closer and closer to it's end, tickets are hard to come by. Never fear, my friend said, lots of people drive to the nearest town to NASA and stand along the bay and have a perfectly good view, even if it's 12 miles away from the launch pad. Dave confirmed this and we went ahead with our plans.
The launch was a Friday afternoon, so we flew down on Thursday. I couldn't have asked for the kids to be any better. Claire sat in her seat, kept her seatbelt on, and watched TV, ate snacks and followed directions. Ben nursed during takeoff and landing and sat on either my lap or Dave's and smiled at all the flight attendants.
We were picked up by my friend and her hubby and went to her house, had dinner and got our stuff ready for the 3 hour drive to the other side of the state for the launch.
It was amazing - the trip over was uneventful, the launch magnificent and the time in the motel pool delightful. We had a few snafus on the return trip. (Which included a return to the Space Center for a tour that took ages upon ages.) The rest of our trip was spent relaxing, going in their pool, catching up with my friend and celebrating her twins' 17th birthdays.
In fact, the only problem with the trip was Claire v. bedtime. It was awful. 5-alarm fire screaming, tantrums, throwing herself to the floor, sobbing, declarations that she hated the trip, the bed, the friends and she was ready to go home, thank you very much. She pretty much cried herself to sleep every night we were away, with the exception of the last night, of course.
And the return flight was even good - Claire again watched TV and slept on Dave's lap. Ben nursed and since I thought to plan the flight during naptime, he slept the whole way home too.
In the balance, the trip was a success. So much so that we're starting to talk about taking another one!