My sitter had a few days off, so rather than get someone else to cover, I took the time off as well. It was a treat! For three of those days (two nights) last weekend, we went with friends to a little beach town about an hour and a half away, not far over the border to a certain mitten-shaped state that we're close to.
It was lovely. My budget doesn't allow for a lot of vacations, but this was ideal-- not a long drive (Elle HATES car rides at the moment), a nice casual town (i.e. not upscale and pricey), and a BEACH.
Because baby girl is still on two naps a day-- and hoo boy, she still needs both of those naps-- it definitely made the schedule more awkward, but we had a good time regardless. We wandered around the town, hung out at the beach, and lazed around on the porches at the lovely B&B.
The B&B was ideal for several reasons. It was right in town, had the aforementioned porches, and best of all the room I was in had a little separate room, with a door, for Elle's pack and play. This was terrific, because it meant we didn't all have to go to bed when Elle went to bed. The first night, after Elle went down, we hung out on the front porch (attached to the room, so within hearing distance) drinking whiskey lemonades and talking. Quietly, but talking.
The second night, my friend's husband stayed with Elle while the girls went out for a drink. We were still in bed by ten-- beach living is tiring, man. Also, I'm old.
Elle loved the beach. Loved it. When I put her down at the edge of the water, and the waves rolled in, she immediately started scooting towards the waves, even when they were big and splashed her. That's my girl.
We spent a lot of time under a little canopy, playing in the sand (I managed to forget her hat, so no matter how much sunscreen I lathered on her, I wanted to limit her amount of time in direct sunlight), which was also big fun. She dug in the sand with her sand shovel, and especially liked it when her bucket was filled with water and she could splash in it. Also, dump the water out. Over and over. And over. The only thing she didn't like was when sand got stuck on her wet hands-- she'd hold them up and look at me and whine. Cause and effect, sweetheart. Cause and effect.
We're definitely going back. One of the friends who went on the trip is already researching places to stay and houses to rent.
I should also note that I feel very lucky that I have friends who not only don't mind going on vacation with a toddler, but who really enjoy said toddler. At this age, there's almost no way I could do this kind of trip solo. The gear alone is more than one person can really handle. And, until Elle is better in the car, it was nice that one of my friends sat in the back seat with her for the latter half of the drive home. (On the drive there, she just lost her mind for the last 25 minutes or so, and I grimly drove as fast as I safely could. NOT FUN.)
I've lost some friends since becoming a parent, absolutely. But the people who've stuck with me are amazing. You really do learn who your friends are when you set out on the single mother journey, and I couldn't be more blessed.