Finn and I took our first trip to Florida together on June 17, 2018 when he was just four weeks old. I was an overwhelmed new mom, a newly single mom, and I was really struggling. Florida felt like a beacon of light and getting us there was the one of the best things I’ve ever done for both Finn and myself.
It’s turned into 30+ round-trips and countless memories with my family that I will carry with me for my whole entire life. While they might not live close to us in Charlotte, I have been able to share so much of Finn’s life with my family and he’s deeply bonded with them. Florida is our happy place. I feel a sense of ease and peace there that makes me feel like the best me. And Finn absolutely thrives with the family time, attention, sunshine and adventures.
I have one million more words to write on this, and I will at some point, but for now let’s jump into our most recent weekend in Florida.
TRAVEL TO FLORIDA
The E gates at the Charlotte airport (American regional travel) were B-A-N-A-N-A-S. I made a last-minute call to bring Finn’s BOB stroller so that I could a) keep him contained at the airport and b) run while I was in Florida and THANK GOD that I did. It was amazing to have him happily riding in his stroller instead of running wild in the terminal.
Hot tip on jogging strollers…technically you are supposed to check jogging strollers but I’ve had good luck with American Airlines gate checking them with zero issues. Also, they don’t fit through the security scanner so they have to do a walk-thru inspection. No big deal, security is accommodating and it’s a fast process. I would recommend bringing a smaller umbrella stroller if that works for your needs but you can work with the jogging stroller if you need to.
I kind of lost my mind on the way down to Florida as American was offering beverage service in coach for the first time I’ve flown since COVID. A Diet Coke sounded good…probably my first one in 2-3 years???
When we are in Florida, we stay at my grandmother’s condo. She lives one floor down from my parents. Finn was so happy to be reunited with Mema! The first day that we were there, he was still in his PJs at 1p. I asked if he wanted to go to the beach and he answered, “No, I want to hang out with Mema.”
I have been so close to my Mema since I was Finn’s age and it makes my heart so insanely happy that these two have such a tight bond.
SWIM + BEACH TIME
OMG, my fish! This trip was a HUGE milestone for us when it comes to swimming. Finn has always been a fan of the water but he SWAM for the first time on his own this weekend.
Finn wore his goggles, jumped in the water, swam to me and then swam to the steps. It was incredible. I have really pushed swimming because he is around water all the time between me, his dad and his nanny. It was super important to me that he develop the skills to essentially rescue himself were he to fall in without an adult present. He has been in swim lessons for over a year and it’s been 100% worth it.
The beach is a different story. I think I’ll try to keep him in his life jacket until he’s 10 years old, haha. My child has zero fear of the ocean or the waves to the point that it’s worrisome. He doesn’t hesitate to head out and bob his way through huge crashing waves. This weekend he told me, “mommy, I’m swimming like a baby shark.”
REST + RELAXATION
I never nap but this guy convinced me to on a rainy afternoon. I was in and out of sleep on my grandmother’s couch for a good hour and a half. He literally told me he wanted to lay down and nap with me. So sweet.
Popsicles on the balcony. 🙂
Hanging out with my parent’s sweet 14-year-old golden, Sam.
We love balcony time and snuggles. <3
I got two five-mile stroller runs in. Both were 80+ degrees and very humid. The blessing was that they were flat and breezy. I am not lying when I say that both of them felt super great.
Finn must have enjoyed them too because this is how he ended both runs. He was holding flowers in this picture that he wanted to give to Mema.
We sat on the runway for an hour at the Destin/Fort Walton Beach airport before taking off. Luckily, Finn was super wiped out from his long weekend of fun that included a morning beach excursion before we went to the airport.
We arrived home to the doggies early this evening and got settled in. Finn was such a wonderful traveler today and went down so easy tonight.
I am ending this weekend feeling so filled up. <3
Toddler travel tips?
How do you feel about hot/humid weather running?
Do you have a summer beach vacation planned?
Do you see your family often? What’s that relationship like?