Saturday, November 23, 2013

Siesta Key

"Siesta Key is my favorite beach," said an older, seasoned traveler, and beach-loving friend. She described the beautiful white-powder sand and clear water. I wanted to go too.

I think the most difficult thing in this phase of life--the phase where we are parenting young children, trying to be "good" and pay off student debt early, getting the career off the ground, etc.--has been suppressing my travel dreams. When I think of far-off places, I often find myself suppressing the thought of it, knowing that it would be practically impossible to do that any time soon. "Maybe next year, or maybe next decade," is often my thought. The idea of Siesta Key stayed in my mind. I did some research, because we had talked about getting a beach house sometime next year, and I filed it away, as a possibility, trying not to get my hopes up too much.

When my friend mentioned Siesta Key, I could have never imagined that I would actually get to go there less than five weeks later. At the end of October, the managing partner at Kevin's law firm asked him if he wanted to go to a legal skills conference for litigation attorneys in Saint Petersburg, Florida, in two weeks. Kevin looked at information about the conference and said yes. Then his boss said, "If you take your wife, you can take an extra day off. But if not, you'd better get your hide back in this office the next day." Ha!

It didn't take me long to figure out that Saint Petersburg is an hour's drive north of Siesta Key. I couldn't believe how quickly the details fell into place for childcare. A friend gladly offered to take the school-aged kids and Kevin's parents took Sophia. We decided to take Carson along with us for this little adventure.

Dreams, even little dreams like getting to see Siesta Key, do come unexpectedly true sometimes.

Staying in a historic, pre-depression era hotel in Saint Petersburg, was one of the highlights.   

This is a view of the bay, out of our room's window.

Waiting for the elevator ... the hotel had some fun architectural features, like lots of arches.

Carson and I painted the town while Kevin was in his sessions. I took this pictures of a lady riding her bike with her doggie in a basket.  I took it because I thought it would humor my girls.  I found that, when I finally got a few days to go explore without my kids, all I did was think about them and think about how much they would love seeing the sights I saw.  Most all the pictures I took were for Meredith, Clara, and Sophia. 

Carson and I had breakfast at this amazing Italian bakery.  

This is truly the best, most flaky, most moist, most flavorful croissant I have ever had.  And the dark, rich coffee wasn't bad either.  Nor the view. 

Carson and I got in the rental car and went to explore some nearby beaches. 

I can't say that taking an 11-month-old to the beach is a relaxing experience but it sure was scenic and we had our own little adventure. On the way back, we drove through some historic neighborhoods and enjoyed the archtecture.  

Our hotel had a Chihuly chandelier.  We took this picture for our kids, and because we love Chihuly. The Indianapolis Children's Museum has a large Chihuly glass sculpture and also a hands on exhibit that our kids enjoy.
Here is a sign proving that Siesta Key beach is #1. Ha! I enjoy California beaches a lot and have been to 5-6 east coast beaches and the gulf of Texas, but never a Florida beach. It was fun to see the differences.
We stumbled upon a super fun sand sculpture contest. We paid our $3 admission and had so much fun. The artists are incredibly talented!

We laughed hysterically watching Carson speed crawl along the sand and chase all the sea gulls furiously. He yelled animatedly and was so funny to watch. No matter how fast he crawled, he could never catch them, but he enjoyed the thrill of the hunt. So many people stopped and said, "Look at that little guy!" He was adorable that day. (And all days, but that day is a special memory.)

This is what it is REALLY like bringing an 11-month-old to the beach. But the sand mess is always worth it. We three had a great time.
For a few hours on Saturday, probably about the time we sat on a bench at the beach and watched a volley ball competition, with absoutely no pressures, no where we "had" to be, nothing we "had" to do, a feeling of relaxation started sweeping over me. It's been years--maybe even five years--since I have felt that relaxed and refreshed. Thank you God. Thank you Kevin's law firm. Thank you Swan family and Grandma and Grandpa Koons. I'm so glad I got to experience Siesta Key. I needed that.
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Diary of an Autodidact said...

The lack of kid-free vacation time has been the hardest thing about parenthood for my wife as well. (She feels it more than I do.) With the kids at their current ages, and with five of them, and with the family members that would take all of them at a time not in the area, we really don't have good options right now. Like you guys, we just hang in there for now, and enjoy it when something unexpected happens.

I'm glad you got such a lovely getaway!

Heather L. said...

I am SO glad you got to do this!!!! Wow it looks lovely there! I think I read about that hotel recently! How fun to stay there. After I read your California post I was wondering if you miss the gorgeousness of CA a lot. I think I would. For as wonderful as Indiana is, and it is home, its not quite as exotic as other places. :)