Siesta Key Vacation

April 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I almost chickened out of this mini-vacation when James couldn’t get off work to come with us. But then I figured James hates the beach anyway, so Liam and I might have more fun without him. And fun we had. It was only a relatively short 2 1/2 hour drive down from Orlando to Siesta Key, right outside of Sarasota. Voted best beach and best sand in the US last year, it certainly lived up to my expectations. The sand was a dazzling white, soft, pliable when wet, and not at all hot. The water was a gorgeous turquoise blue, and the waves gently lapped against the shore. I was thrilled to see Liam overcome his fear and stand with me in the surf.

We arrived late Tuesday afternoon to our quaint mom-and-pop resort called Captiva Beach. After unloading our overpacked car, we set off for Big Olaf’s for ice cream and fudge. It was dinner time, but Liam said he wanted ice cream first, and who am I to deny my adorable tike? After picking up some souvenirs, we headed to The Old Salty Dog for their famous deep fried hotdogs and fries. Dinner of champions!

Then we set off to the beach! It was a short walk from our room. People gathered to watch the sunset with their glasses of wine, kids played catch with their dads, honeymooners cuddled under blankets (it was a bit chilly). And Liam threw sand at my butt while I admired my first sunset on the beach. Romantic, right?

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But what could I expect? Liam loved squashing his hands in the sand, and after a little convincing he went with me to “jump the waves.” Except he says, “Jump the wabes.” A-freakin-dorable. A lady and her husband offered to take our photos as we played in the surf.

As I gathered our things, a family we’d seen on our way in stopped and offered to help carry Liam’s chair. The couple was from Wisconsin, and their daughter Stephanie was just a year older than Liam. They were staying just a few rooms down from ours, so after grabbing our beach ball and a bottle of wine, we all met up in the courtyard for a playdate and cocktails. The kids had a blast chasing each other around, and I got some unexpected adult conversation. Sweet!

We called it a night at 10, though Liam was high as a kite on cookies and ice cream. But he eventually settled down, and for some reason couldn’t wait to “sleep in the bed with mommy!” He was out by 11. And then up at 7. Ugh. I brought tea and fruit, and we had a full kitchen in our room, so we were all set for breakfast. Then we headed to the beach early to collect sea shells and get a good spot.

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I’m telling you, this sand was awesome! I’ve never seen anything like it. We got out our sand toys and set to work building a castle. I dug a tunnel through it, and Liam couldn’t stop looking through it. “Mommy, I can seeee you!” Then he wanted me to bury him in the sand. He kept telling me to bury him to his neck, but this is as far as I dared get.

Then it was off to the water to jump the wabes. We ventured a little deeper, just past the break, where the water was up to my waist as the waves rolled in. He stayed safely on my back. He’d scream in delight each time his toes got wet. We watched people on their body boards. We saw some kids in an inflatable raft in the deep water. We saw a handful of people parasailing along the beach. 

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Typically Liam jumped from activity to activity, and once the sand and water became boring, he set his sights on the grass. The sand here was dry, fine, and only a little warm. I played paparazzi while Liam climbed the dunes.

We spent a little downtime in the room before dinner. As awful as potty training has been (except on this trip, where he peed like a champ!), and as annoying as Liam can be with talking too loudly or whining when he doesn’t get his way, I really had a wonderful time being with Liam on this trip. He’s actually quite civil – saying “Excuse me” if he bumps into me, and telling me what he wants instead of crying about it. I could ask him what he wanted for dinner, what he wanted to do with our time, and I feel I can finally relate to him as a little person. I’ll always remember this one moment on the beach where he was climbing all over me, trying to tickle me as I tickled him, and we both fell down in a heap of giggles. We even had a great time goofing around in our hotel room.

Our super tiny bathroom with only a shower stall proved to be a sticky point in our otherwise pleasant afternoon. Liam dutifully got in the shower and let me use the detachable sprayer on him. But when I had to rinse his hair, he was done with that, thankyouverymuch! I was suddenly glad we’d only booked two nights.

For dinner we strolled down the block to Captain Curt’s Crab and Oyster Bar, where I sampled the world-famous clam chowder. It was as delicious as advertised. On the way back Liam took a snooze in the stroller, so I decided to try and find a part of the beach called Point of Rocks. I didn’t have much luck, so I raced back to the room, carried my half-asleep boy to the beach, and just missed the sunset by 4 seconds! Doh! I recovered from my disappointment with more cocktails and play time with our new friends that evening.

We squeezed in a little more time at the beach on Thursday morning, but by then I think Stephanie had had enough of Liam annoyingly filling in her holes in the sand as she dug them. Poor Liam thought it was a delightful game! But he’s not quite as worldly in the ways of preschool play, so we bid adieu to our vacation pals and headed out for brunch at The Village Café. It was fitting that Liam wanted the Mickey Mouse pancake, as we were headed straight back to the land of Disney shortly after.

Oh, Siesta Key! How I loved thee! We will definitely be coming back. This time James might even tag along. You can check out all our vacay pics here. Enjoy!

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