vacay photo barrage

alternately titled: "here comes the post that makes you never want to see another picture of us or judah again."

i was nervous. this was our 6th year in a row of hitting cape san blas for a beach vacation with the harpers. leading up to the trip was a kind of perfect storm of signs that it might not be a "best year ever" kind of trip:
1. gulf oil spill. CSB is about an hour from panama city and everyone was squawking and getting all afraid of how bad it would be. i am pregnant and a worrier and i had visions of playing in contaminated seas and then giving birth to one of those oil-covered otters from the exxon-valdez footage. no thanks.

2. the other family that always goes at the same time as us, the arrowoods (parents=mentors, kids=our flower girl/ring bearer) couldn't go because the place they rented got foreclosed on. this meant no volleyball, no cooking out (the dad, randy, is a SICK chef that we couldn't hope to imitate), no big group fun.
3. garrett, the eldest harper, couldn't get off work (sucks not working for jesse like you did last year, huh?) and was going to have to drive back to atlanta and work for two days in the middle of the week and then come back for the final 2 days.
4. my grandpa died 2 days before we left and the funeral was scheduled for when we were going to be down there.

5. we couldn't get the condo we wanted, where judah could have his own room, so that meant that captain attachy-pants, lightest of sleepers, was sleeping in the pak n' play at the foot of our bed in our tiny room.
6. our favorite restaurant down there, the raw bar, was closed all week because the owner's father died.

7. a super active 13 month old in the car for over 5 hours scared the placenta out of me.

8. the weather was supposed to be kind of blah all week.

9. first judah, and then jesse, donovan, and i caught the cold that several of the dukes family had been suffering from. they graciously kept judah the night fred died because i was a little fragile and even though they warned us that bob and elena were sick, i rolled the dice. bad idea. judah's showed up on the way down as a runny nose and persisted all week and jesse, don, and i had wicked sinus pressure and pain and general blah-ness for about 2 days each until we kicked it.

now that my reflective bitchfest of a list is at an end, let me just say that we made it happen and had a great time. it was hard and it was a unique kind of year compared to the previous 5, but it was awesome still and i would do it all over again.

but i will never again sleep in the same room as judah if at all possible. every night was like the t-rex and jeep scene from jurassic park, when some TINY noise of us getting in bed or turning over would wake him up and he would pop up in his crib and peep at us over the foot of the bed looking for signs of life and daddy. "don't make a move, he can see us by our movement." it was weird to be that terrified of a baby.
my family was amazingly understanding and cool about us missing fred's funeral. we looked at every option, from getting a flight up to me coming down alone later and we finally decided to wake up on tuesday, just me and jesse, drive back to atl, attend the funeral and then drive back. this got vetoed though because i was not cool leaving judah with anyone at the ocean and pool while i was not there (first time mobile baby mommy fears abounded) and the drive really took a toll on my preggo body, more than i thought it would, and i just couldn't do it twice in one day. i know fred didn't mind, though i was major bummed to miss seeing my elusive brother who flew in from seattle.
none of us got sunburns, there was 0% evidence of any oil spill ever, we found a few great new places to eat and even go to go to raw bar when it reopened the night that we left. we triumphed over fat, rich, white people "adversity!" hurray?

here's a little, and by little i mean arfing huge, glimpse into our week. sorry the horizontal pics got cut off. since i got my comp back, the settings have changed and i was NOT going to go back and repost all these pictures in their smaller versions.

judah was AWESOME on the rides. he slept the first 2 hours on the way down there, "NO ONE is allowed to go pee while he is asleep, we must take advantage of this!" and only got cranky and squirmy the last 45 minutes. only one stop the entire 5.5 hours!

hitting the beach for sunset and fireworks on 4th of july. will he be a sand-lover or sand-hater?

checking out the structural integrity of the boys' game of wisconsin ultimate.

garrett, ever the competitor, was less than amused by the interruption. that smile is fake.
patriotic family

they kept judah out of their game by making him fetch the football all over the beach. down set hike!

coolest unstaged picture ever! especially if judah grows up to play in the NFL and give us all his money.

somehow he knew exactly what to do at the beach even though this was at 8:30 pm and we were in regular clothes.

crashing and burning during the fireworks

LOVED THE SAND! didn't try to eat it, but didn't mind it in his mouth/all over his body

dear judah, i am so glad that you love the water and have NO FEAR whatsoever so of it, but when you sprint full speed down the sandy shore face first into the crashing surf, it makes mommy's ovaries tense up. maybe a little fear or perhaps caution? no?...ok, well daddy will be on ocean safety duty because you are too fast for your manatee, i mean, mommy.

taking adorable shelter at the pool during a 10 minute torrential downpour

first taste of a grouper finger basket (legendary) at the marina. after inhaling hers with 8 gallons of remoulade and french fries, mommy remembered to check the pregnant lady fish list of what is okay to eat and what isn't due to mercury levels. it went a little something like this: "salmon-SAFE, okay to eat daily; tuna- MILD RISK, limit to one serving per week, grouper-CHERNOBYL, you might as well crack open a thermometer and suck out the silvery essence inside in between puffs of cigarettes, you fat, selfish whore of a gestational vessel" crap. ok well, i will take that as "once per pregnancy at most." i never worried about any of the fish on the bad list because they are all like these exotic species that i had zero plans to be eating during this pregnancy like orange roughie, shark, mackerel and loch ness monster. oh, and apparently grouper. my b.

strolling the docks in search of a "tugga-tugga tugboat." judah's favorite book of all time. best line in in: "tugga-tugga tugboat, never one to gloat boat." not like all those other haughty mofo boats.

after judah went to bed, rick stayed inside to listen out for him and jesse and i got to enjoy the overcast general dimming that served as a sunset that night. what in the CRAP did we used to do with all our time before judah?!?!

matching. count on it!

big pimpin and lil' pimpin. look closely and you'll spot my wicked maternity swimskirt bottoms. that massive swath of lycra was the only thing between me and a total self-esteem meltdown. i may have looked 63, but i wasn't thinking about my asscheese every 5 seconds. thank you liz, lange.

gotta work on that tan. SPF 70 isn't letting anything through.

at sea with daddy. he LOVED it. even when he would get 100% doused by seawater he never cried. maybe he got a hearty saline noserinse that helped his cold.

i am much more of a pool person. judah loved it all

matching again

harper parents shcmooping it up on the beach

they look pretty tough and hot with their pose until you realize that they were pointing at a snow white kite

the original crew that started in 2005. though now that i think of it, judah shouldn't have been in the pic. neither should about 50 lbs of dukesness that were not invited that first year.

yearly harpyramid. love them big big

to keep him from falling asleep on the late night drive back to the beach after work, garrett was allowed to bring his awesome GF, alyson, even though there is a strict, no GF's at the beach until you put a ring on it policy. while i was taking this, 13 year old grayson was whispering, "this is a perfect rehearsal dinner pic, take a good one!"

us with our little brothers.

prom style. bahahahaha

just another reason why grayson and i are pretty much bff

judah didn't get the memo that it was picture night and not time to hit the waters. he was drenched and pissed that he got yanked out. but we had no swim diaper or suit, what else could we do?

yup. we could always do that

check out that tan. this is a man on a mission. stay out of his tiny nakey way

while judah was streaking all over the shore a little 3 year old boy spotted him and said, "mommy, look! he has a penis like a baby!" oh geez, kid, like yours is anything to write home about. i doubt anyone's ever used the phrase, "endowed like a preschooler."

judah. loves. grayson.

the important thing here is to realize that about 7 of our platters had already been taken at this point. the crustacean carapace carnage was extensive.

judah could be tricked into eating tiny bites of oysters, but not crab. what's wrong with this kid?

jesse's trademark move: harvest the smaller-than-bitesized crab pieces and deposit them in the butter cup while he moves on to search for bigger nuggets. then, when the cup is full of crab remnants (and that 2 ounces of melted butter), enjoy a huge, greasy bomb of goodness that has been marinating for about an hour. i would make fun of him, but i am kind of jealous.

this raw bar binge was the last thing we did before the dukes and one carful of harpers headed home. our reservation was through sunday, but i needed more than a few hours to recuperate from my week with the little sleep terrorist in my room so we decided to drive back saturday night.

judah was awesome on the way home and fell asleep about 30 minutes into the drive and stayed asleep the whole time. i got a gastrointentinal smackdown from rawbar about 30 minutes after departure and was terrified of the hour long portion of the drive where there is nowhere to use the bathroom besides swampland and made us turn around twice to make sure the GI was fully braced and equipped to make the trip into the portion of florida that even ponce de leon never mapped. my apologies to the owners and other patrons of triple tails liquor store and burger king port st. joe.

vacations with toddlers should have a totally different word that is not "vacation." it was hard work. and i know next year will be hard too. but layla will be barely crawling (if that) and judah by then will hopefully at least have the fear of spankings to keep him in bounds. plus i will sleep in the car before a share a room with wee ones.

i am really proud of all of our attitudes and work ethics in making this seemingly-doomed year a total success. thank god we have about 50 weeks before we have to do it again.


  1. Oh my gosh girl...I have so many things to say about so many of those pics and the story...hilarious!!! Totally agree w/ you on not sleeping in the same room...we had the same experience at the beach this year. And TOTALLY agree w/ you about it NOT BEING VACATION! Toddlers + not at home + long car trips + sleeping in the same room = not an easy trip.
    Love y'all to pieces!

  2. You're a beautiful preggo! Can't wait to see that belly in person. I loved all the pics

  3. ROTF about the preschooler endowment! Glad you guys made the most of your trip and didn't have any oil. Stop by L&D sometime-although text me first to see if I'm working (I really cut back my hours).

  4. That was a hilarious post. I was loling all over the place.

  5. There were some awesome pictures there. Great photo skills. And I totally agree with you about kids/babies needing their own room. It makes a huge difference. I am impressed that you went on vacation. And you look super cute, growing that sweet baby girl in your belly.

  6. Yes, hilarious post!!! I, too, was loling, how do you come up with this stuff? We actually canceled our vacation to Cape San Blas - would have been our first time ever but the oil scared us - so we scampered over to the "other side" - St. Augustine. Gorgeous there. But from reading your post, it appears that we gambled and lost. It happens. Sounds like y'all made the most of a seemingly doomed week. Good for you!!! Loved the pics of the Harpers - they are our neighbors behind us - and I adore Donovan - he ate lunch with me a lot this past year at Sandy Creek. (not because of ME, mind you, but because of a certain ahem someone who was an office aide). Anyway, glad you all had a great beach week. Maybe one of these days we'll get to experience the beauty that is Cape San Blas. p.s. - great job on naming your little girl - beautiful!

  7. Loved all of the pics and updates!!! Vacation is hard work but totally worth it I think. Dan and I talk about what we did before MB and we really have no idea. Amazing! Love Layla and her well thought out name!

  8. I think you should do a one woman show somewhere....I would buy tickets....love the nakey pics and correlating wiener jokes

    ps-love baby girls name, ya'll put so much thought into it...makes me feel kindof bad for just saying..."Hmm, that sounds like a good name" when we named our boys.

    pps-you really look great, I think ya'll may need to replace the mirrors in your house