The day after school was out, we flew to Florida. That's right, we took four children on an airplane and lived to tell the tale. But as my Scottish neighbor, who periodically flies to her homeland with three boys, said as I was freaking out: "It's just Florida." And she was right.
Helpful travel tips:
Pay the extra $$$ for assigned seating, checking bags, and whatever else helps you not worry.
Do not pay the extra $$$ for an 'upgrade' to your freakishly expensive minivan rental. The minivan is fine. You drive one at home and are quite happy with it.
Have an aunt-in-law who winters in Florida who graciously offers you her home that is mere blocks away from the grandparents and great-grandparents. Hide all the breakables while you stay there. Wipe off all the fingerprints. Send her a nice gift when you get home.
Have in-laws with a screened-in pool right outside their back door.
When your toddler is melting down in the security line because his dad had to go back through the line to empty a filled water bottle a child forgot they had on their person, have a nice female security agent show him where Daddy went and what he's doing.
When your in-laws offer to pay for a day at Disney, say 'yes.'
When you spend the morning at Clearwater Aquarium seeing Winter the dolphin, do not go directly to the beach when no one has had lunch or a nap. Also, do not attempt to make peanut butter sandwiches on a windy beach.
If your grandmother-in-law has an awesome hobby like making stained glass, bravely ask her to make you something, like a lamp to hang over your dining table.
Sunscreen your pale northern children a LOT.
After Florida, we had a week of Vacation Bible School, where I once again snagged a job in the air conditioned kitchen. It pays to have connections.
During that week Graham was tested and found to be developmentally on target and not eligible for speech therapy anymore! He is now just as much a chatterbox as the rest of them and knows how to use it to his advantage.
"Graham, did you just throw your socks behind the couch?"
Graham: "Well... I love you."
There was lots of swimming in the neighbors' pool and reading for the summer reading program. Also, a probably mentally unstable member of our community spent some time saying rude things about my husband on his website and Facebook. He has done much worse things to other members of the community who have since taken him to court. Small town life: never boring.
We celebrated our 15th anniversary with a cookout and fireworks. Fourth of July anniversary FTW. Also, we bought each other a garbage disposal for our anniversary present. Scott said he'll engrave "Love, Scott" on it with his Dremel. 23-year old newlywed me would have been horrified at such a gift.
The kids did a second VBS with our dear friends who have since moved to South Carolina. The mom of the family is back this week packing up the house, and I am trying to be helpful and not cry as I tape up boxes. This was not part of the deal. They were supposed to stay till all the kids were out of high school, at least.
Coming next: August. Right now I need to make the screaming stop.