When we put the girls in the car around 2:45 a.m., they were naturally a bit confused. We got them all tucked in their car seats and whispered for them to go back to sleep, that we were leaving for the beach. Addison and Mackenzie grinned and giggled and perked up more than I ever imagined they could in the middle of the night. They requested that I turn on Shrek and they laughed and squealed for over an hour, before finally falling back to sleep.
The trip was blessedly quiet and uneventful after the initial excitement. We met up with Jeremy's parents (his stepdad also works the night shift, so they were driving through the night too) for breakfast at our usual McDonald's in Bay Minette, then made it into Foley around 10:00 or so. The plan was to shop at the outlets in Foley until after lunch, when we could check into our condo in Gulf Shores. It worked out pretty well, and the girls had a blast playing on the playground and riding the carousel (at $3 per kid, per ride!!) at the outlet center. By the time we ate lunch and loaded up to make the 20-minute drive to Gulf Shores, they were exhausted.
This is the face of a girl who is dying to close her eyes, but is seriously afraid of missing something.
And the one who gave it up...
I had this idea that they would take a long afternoon nap at the condo, allowing the rest of us a few minutes of much-needed sleep as well. Guess what? It didn't happen. The girls were so excited to check out the condo and the beach views, and there was just no way they were going to miss it by going to sleep. After nearly an hour of struggling to get either of them to close their eyes, we admitted defeat. We left NiNi and Grandpa to take a short nap, and Jeremy and I changed into our bathing suits and headed down to the pool with Addison & Mackenzie.
The condo had a zero-entry pool (you know, the kind where you just walk in and it gradually gets deeper?) which was fantastic. Our girls are normally a bit overwhelmed and nervous in large pools, and they cling to us desperately the entire time. Not so with the zero-entry pool, thank goodness. About half the pool is under two feet deep, so A & M could walk around, sit, splash, and play.
We spent the majority of our time at the pool, until the girls were solidly worn out from all the swimming. We did get down to the beach a few times, but after a few minutes of playing in the sand and at the edge of the ocean, Mackenzie would ask to go back to the "big water up there"--that is, the swimming pool.
After the girls got their first visit to the beach and pool out of the way, we all changed and headed out for dinner. We were all pretty exhausted by that point. Mackenzie had slept the few minutes it took to drive from Foley to Gulf Shores and was feeling okay (it helped that she was getting to hang out with her NiNi, whom she looooooves). Poor Addison had not closed her eyes all day, and it finally caught up with her at dinner:
Despite a little stressing on my part about where/when/if the girls would sleep, everything went better than I could have expected. There was a teeny tiny "sleeping" room at the front of the condo, barely big enough to contain a set of built-in bunk beds. The bottom bunk was the perfect size for A & M to sleep (I put them at each end of the bed, so that their feet met in the middle). Because the beds were built-in, there was a wall at either end and along the back side, leaving just the front open. We were prepared with a toddler bed rail that fit perfectly along the front. We tucked the girls in, hyping up the idea of sleeping in their very own "bunk bed clubhouse", and to my surprise and relief, they went right to sleep and slept the entire night.
After such a long day, I desperately needed a shower and when I got out at 8:30, everyone except me was sound asleep. We live such an exciting life. : )
Part two of our vacation coming tomorrow!