Our departure was, as usual, completely nutty. My 14 year-old dog shattered his foreleg jumping from only one foot off the ground the afternoon before we left. The emergency vet hospital visit took 4 hours the night before we left, basically consuming all our planned packing time. The x-rays showed that my pooch likely had early bone cancer and we decided to euthanize him - the leg was irreparable, and he had several other serious aging dog issues. This was horrible for me, as he was my constant companion for his whole life. His nickname was The Mayor, as he was friendly to a fault and always wanted to wander around politely greeting every person in the park. It was a less than auspicious ending, because Homestead Mama and I had both babies in a small exam room for the whole time during and through their bedtime. I was unable to properly love on my pooch and process what was going on because Monito was crying and Pequita was licking the floor, exam table legs, chairs, whatever. (She's going through a bit of a phase right now.) When my dog was being put down Pequita was bleary-eyed and chewing on the door stop (in a vet hospital - how clean could that BE?) and it made it hard to focus on the dog, so strong was my desire to keep her from contracting some deadly bacteria from the surfaces she was so lovingly tasting.
The next morning, instead of waking up and jumping into a packed car, we awoke and had to both tend babies, nurse, and pack for 10 days away from home. We managed to fit everything we needed into our car. It took about 12 hours with traffic to make the seven-hour drive, and Homestead Mama kept the babies happy the whole way by sitting squeezed in between the two car seats in the back. I was grateful to be the one driving. Due to a traffic jam at the end of the trip, we made our ferry with THREE minutes to spare. I have never sped so much in a car - I am usually a pretty lawful driver. I was spurred on by the thought of being stranded in a vacation area at 8 pm with no hotel vacancies, no way to get our car-load of stuff across the ferry (reservations fill up in January) and with two exhausted babies. I was giddy with happiness as we sat in the car nursing and breathing ocean air deeply. We got set up to put the babies to sleep immediately upon arrival (after hugs all around) and crashed pretty quickly ourselves. I woke up early almost every day, to the sunrise view below from the balcony off our room. The ocean is a block away, and while it doesn't show up in the photo very well it is huge, blue and looks gorgeous from the house.
Monito was exhausted from his first 2 months of life, and really took to vacationing like a champ. (And yes, I packed his mobile. He looks at it when he wakes up and it buys us more sleep time.)
My family has been renting the same vacation house for about twenty years. It is like sliding into a comfortable old robe to arrive and unpack, shake off our travel clothes and stress and meander down to the big porch that overlooks a park and out onto the ocean with a gin and tonic (or this year a baby and a passel of toys.) The house is close to the beach, grocery store, restaurants and a great park - the location can't be beat.
I only raked for about 10 minutes until I felt the pull of my Cesarean incision site, and opted to be the photographer in lieu of popping my almost-dissolved stitches.
Monito stayed behind with grandma on the porch. He spent time swinging in the hammock, which he loved. I really never have to worry when my mother has the kids. She is incredibly nurturing and innately skilled and patient with infant and young children. She taught kindergarten - third grade for her whole life, and it shows in all her interactions with our kids.
My dad makes the best chowder recipe (from the New Basic Cookbook) and he spent the day tending to that, and we had it for dinner. The quahogs last all week, too, so it is a good thing to do early in our vacation.