Our Florida Vacay

So our little family went on a vacation last week to Florida. If we throw a dart to any part of the state, we know someone that lives there which is awesome for us because we love inviting ourselves over! This time it was to visit some friends from college. They have two kids as well: a daughter a couple months younger than Ruthie and a son a few weeks older than Annie. Uh… PERFECT!

And the trip was pretty darn near that too. Even the flights, which I was dreading. Dreading for no reason at all, because (and I hate to gloat) the girls did awesome.

Our first flight was at 6am, which meant we woke up at 3:30 to get everyone moving. Without knowing it, that was the most ideal situation, because it meant that Annie was tired most of the day which meant she slept which meant she didn’t annoy people which meant I wouldn’t have to sit there with no expression on my face during the glares being thrown at me which meant I could smile at Ruthie which meant she would continually tell me to quit looking at her. We’re at that point people, she has started to shove my face away from too many kisses.

But I digress, here she is on the first flight:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis was a very small plane with one seat, the aisle, and then two seats on the other side. I plopped down with Annie on the single chair while Ryan sat next to Ruthie And then the flight attendant said, “Oh ma’am, you’ll need to move across the aisle because there’s only one oxygen mask on this side.” I started to get up and switch with Ryan. But then I realized that Annie was the culprit and said, “Wait! Here ya go” and passed Annie across the aisle.

This got a few laughs which startled me. ARE PEOPLE LISTENING TO US?

So I laughed nervously and switched seats with Ryan. Here I am with a baby in my arms trying to go to sleep and a toddler to my right with nothing to read and do because we never thought to keep the backpack with her activities at our feet. (First family flight learning curve)

It was all fine and dandy until I saw this:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESUm, is that a magazine in your hand whilst you sit in a single seat all the way over there across the huge aisle? I’m surprised he didn’t request a blanket and a night mask. His vacation got off to a good start.

I asked Ryan to take a picture of his estranged family. I was already fading.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESPoor Ruthie had to read the emergency scenarios the whole time. You can also tell it was our first flight of the trip because the window was open with a sleeping baby. “But Ruthie needs to see everything in the sky!!” “You mean clouds?” “Yes, but the clouds are literally outside the window!!” By flight 2 all windows were in lockdown and Ruthie sat in the aisle seat to keep from kicking Annie’s head.

But we made it and sat through a 3 hour layover where the entire objective was to keep Annie awake. She was in good spirits  though, Ruthie too now that we finally unzipped her activity bag. My mom had given me one of those painting books that has the paint already on the page, you just dip the brush in water. Remember those? Uh, perfect for traveling we discovered.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe did lots of strolls and books and patty cakes. It worked though because as soon as the engines started, boom:
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy hands were tied up with Annie, but I got to enjoy Ryan gazing lovingly at a quiz, but not just any quiz….
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA Mensa quiz, his alma mater. Or whatever.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI was never invited to join. And when Ryan told me that one of the questions was wrong because the real answer had six letters and not seven (Or something like that, I was too busy debating which Real Housewives episode I’d be missing).

We made it and Mike came to pick us up, with a goatee.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHe kept it on for one last day in honor of Ryan’s arrival. Before our luggage even hit the bedroom floor he was already in the bathroom shaving it off.

These girls met again as toddlers and instantly hit it off. Sigh. They would copy each other, laugh hysterically, run around, and basically be all up in each other’s business the entire time we were there.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut what we noticed right off was how nice they were to one another. It was really neat.

Ryan made himself at home later that night by breaking almost all of the eggs in their fridge.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThank goodness Gina was making us biscuits and gravy the next day.

Oh Gina. She was on top of the food, it was lovely. I helped out where I could, but this girl had it all under control. So did Mike with his mad packing skillz for the beach. Gina, the big girls, and I went to a library sing-along thing while the guys and the babies set up for the beach and when we arrived everything was ready to go.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe weather, ah the weather. It was so unbelievably nice. Sunny, breezy, not too too hot.

There were jellyfish to be seen, crabs to pinch Ryan’s toe (although I think they were just trying to clip his nails. If this guy were to ever lose his arms and still want to play the guitar? Done), and build sand castles.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESimageimage SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESimageWe got home, the kids took a nap and then woke up to more water adventures outside.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRuthie later laid her hands right onto the catcus there. No tears, but lots of: Oh there’s another one. Oh there’s another one, when referring to the needles. No, the only kid that cried all the time was Annie. A serious party pooper… except for when she was eating or playing with Noah or the dog, Gus.

If this is a foreshadowing of her first date, than I am both sorry for the guy and proud of my girl, for not only NOT ordering a salad but instead positively shoveling the food in her mouth.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNoah didn’t seem to mind.

Gus didn’t mind my spooning. This guy has been around since college and sadly, that was probably my last spoon with him. He’s been well loved by everyone.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOne thing that made this a great visit was that we were all in the same boat. Before arriving, emails were sent about each couple doing a date night while the other babysits. Turns out, date night happens at home once the kids go to bed and we quickly (and gladly) nixed that idea.

As soon as the last was in bed about 8:30, Gina would go into the kitchen and you’d heard clinkclinkclinkclinkclink of ice going into glasses. Out she’d come with nightly drinkie-poos. We’d sink into the couch or armchair, watch TV, then pause the TV, then talk for an hour about something on TV that parlayed into another conversation, then run to the computer to double check the validity of a statement someone said, then guzzle our cool drinks, then keep talking, then remember the TV was on pause, then watch a little bit more…. then fold laundry.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt was awesome and we felt so comfortable. I hate that my first photo of Gina is her doing laundry.

Here’s one I just stole from her facebook page. Is that illegal?


She’s cool and laid back and let’s me ramble on without rolling her eyes.

What’s the over/under of Ruthie rolling her eyes that I took a photo of her going #2 while looking at a book. She seriously requests one each time.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe next day we decided to nix the beach and go for a walk, eat lunch at a park, and play at a splash pad.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe got home to naps and then more playing in the pool outside. Here’s to what I’m sure was the summer brew….

image because I know it wasn’t to my silver hair. Yikes!!

After dinner activities included watching Isla put together a double-sided puzzle with literally almost no help.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI turned to see what my genius was doing….

Let’s just say, puzzles have been introduced full force at the Collier household this week. Isla has inspired us!

It’s 8:30 folks! You know what that means…. clinkclinkclinkclinkclink, then sinking, then talking, then watching. Repeat.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut we weren’t watching just any ole show this night. No, the previous noche Gina had asked if any of us used to watch Jem and Holllograms. Yes! And Ryan described the only one he’d seen: Jem was kidnapped to an island by a long flowing hair man  that he looked up to. We found an episode and recorded it for the next evening.

Luck would have it that the episode recorded was the exact one Ryan was talking about. There’s Jem and her kidnapper Riot.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRyan was up front and center gazing at that long hair.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES“Oh Riot, you can kidnap me any time.”

My favorite line from show? Jem finally had a moment of “I need to get out of this situation”…. “I need to leave right now Riot!” “But Jem, you can’t leave!! You haven’t seen me waterski!” “Oh, are you any good?” And then it cuts to her watching him ski.

Sigh. It was awesome.

We also managed to play a quick game of catchphrase and then crashed.

The next day was at the beach again, perfect weather, but a few more people since it was Saturday. Still not overcrowded at all.

We came home, ate, took showers, and played before naptime. These two…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI didn’t get the memo that coozies on the arm were a fad. Way to start your own trend girls…
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBeyonce was played and we all danced. Ruthie has been spotted walking down the hallway softly singing “I’m a single lady, I’m a single lady…”

Gina asked the girls to put their arms around each other for a pic. This is what they did first:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThat night, clinkclinkclinkclink and more talking. Possibly more laundry. Suggestion of a game and then nothing. The night ended with more talking.

Our flight the next morning didn’t leave until noon, so we had the morning to lounge around a bit.

imageBefore we knew it, we had to leave. Once again, Annie fell asleep as the engines started and woke up in a good mood. Ruthie started off with more scribbling…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut then broke out a smiley face “of daddy” to which I had to ooh and aah and wake Annie up over. It was worth it.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESLike I said, Annie was happy and we read our books and laughed at the people behind us.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAbout ten minutes before we landed, we looked down to Ruthie passed out on the chair. She was zonked.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESShe woke up at the baggage claim and asked us how we got off the plane.

We had such a good visit with Mike and Gina and family and can’t wait for our next visit to florida!


First though, one quick story. Ryan and Ruthie were looking for me in the pews at church. “There she is,” yelled Ruthie. “Where?” “Right there!” “Where? I dont’ see her.” “Right THERE daddy.” Ryan looked at where Ruthie was pointing. It was a 60 year old woman a few rows up.


Luckily I came upon this scene shortly afterwards otherwise she would’ve been grounded for life: 

Look at her, laying in her sandbox staring upwards.


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI laid down next to her and asked what she was doing. She said, Look, and pointed up with her cute double chin.



SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAh, Ruthie. I’m diggin’ you right about now. 


In other news, I was in the kitchen today trying to kill a fly that had been bullying us for the previous few days. Ruthie was standing next to me while I slapped and swatted and yelled at this rodent with wings. Finally I just handed over the fly swatter to Ruth and said, “Here, you try for awhile.” She swatted at it once and killed it. 



No, we cheered and screamed as if it were a homerun. Ryan ran around proud with a puffed-out chest. I should probably save the carcass and put it in her baby book we made that big a deal of it.


Sometimes I walk into the kitchen and catch Annie looking at the action in the other room through her little highchair slats. 



SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYou guessed it: Ruthie.


In this case Ruthie was trying to get her leotard off to go potty. I guess I should’ve helped her instead of taking her photo.


These are the sorts of games Ruthie and I play. They’re called, “Mom is really trying to be creative even though she’s not.” Ruthie didn’t mind. In fact, she liked it!

Making shopping lists of things around the house and running around picking them up in her shopping cart. It was straight up Supermarket Sweep and made me happy.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESShe wanted to buy Annie? And a kiss from daddy? Doesn’t matter, put it on the list!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThere she goes… off to wake Annie up and put her in the basket probably.


Annie’s becoming an eater.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnd Ruthie wants her nails done all the time. I love that she does mine too. Haven’t had a pedicure in a long time so it shouldn’t be a surprise that having a toddler paint my toenails really relaxed me. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut I really love the concentration on her own nails.


Each day is full of spunk and drama and tears and laughs and hugs. 

Loving my life. 

Ryan’s Birthday

We threw Ryan a pretty laid back birthday. It mostly consisted of redeeming points at various restaurants we frequent, doing yard work, and falling asleep early. How times have changed. But in a good way.

It was a good weekend.

We started off breakfast singing Happy Birthday. Ruthie was the first one up and so excited since we’d been talking about it all week. “I’m 2. On my next birthday, I’ll be 3. I can chew gum when I’m 4.” And on and on and on. She’s a chatter and 95% of the time cracks me up. The other 5% I’m on the couch with my eyes closed when she whispers stuff in my ear.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter seeing her lick her lips, I reminded her that we had to wait for Annie to wake up.

This is her pre-pre I’m gonna shed some tears face.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut she held it together and waited patiently.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhich was only a few minutes because guess who woke up with the biggest grin on her face!!! Annie!!!

Wuz up, she yelled and threw us some signs.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRyan is officially his father in his white t-shirt.

We all squealed loudly. I’ve got squealers!
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRyan not so much. I guess we need his balance on the decibel level.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut this photo made my heart hurt…

That is the look of pure devotion and love, right there folks. She is so smitten with her dad it makes me want to cry.

When lunch came around we went to a pizza joint. Ruthie had our waitress captivated. I thought it was the profound conversation they were having about white milk vs chocolate milk, until the waitress said, “Ooooh, and I love your earrings too.” Screech! What earrings? I looked over at her and saw the huge black and pearl dangly clip-on earrings from her dress-up corner glistening proudly. I wonder how many people think her ears are really pierced and these are what she wears. Ruthie quietly said, “Thank you. That was a compliment.” I started talking about compliments hardcore when she turned 2. If it’s difficult for me to just say thank you instead of turning it into a self-deprecating joke, then it needed to be drilled in early to my kids. I hope it sticks.

Later we swung on the swings, daddy pushed of course.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnd kissed Annie’s toes.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe cleaned out the garage. (Fun birthday, eh?) To us it is. I mean, look at this girl. Can hardly contain herself, probably because of Ryan’s white shirt… again. If Randy ever has any worry that his legacy will not live on, never fear. It’s alive and well.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe ended the birthday weekend with hamper rides. They were free…. until the next trip to the chiro, that is.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnd topped it all off with a near toe-touching experience with a huge spider. I was getting the girls into the tub and looked down to see this guy about to caress my pinky toe. I screamed a low guttural scream, the real kind… you know the kind. This, after I’d spent countless moments explaining to Ruthie that spiders help eat bugs. This, after I’d told myself every night to pretend I was on the frontier and to BUCK UP. This, after breathing 1-2-3 at every encounter so I wouldn’t scream…
Who cares about “this”. I’m outta here. Have fun giving the girls a bath on your birthday Ryan.