When I woke up on Monday, April 25th, I was relieved when I realized the day had arrived...the start of the vacation. My son woke me as usual with a gentle tap to the side of the head. I much prefer it to the alarm clock.
I got myself and the children ready like usual, but at a much slower pace. The plan for the day was to leave home around 7:55, pick up Jessica (Godparents' daughter) at 8:00, stop for breakfast at a nearby restaurant and be on the highway between 9 and 9:30am.
We were about 10 minutes later than I planned, but unlike every other day when being that far off schedule would have me grinding my teeth together, it didn't bother me. Jessica was ready and waiting so once her suitcase was in the van, we were off. We stopped at a Chick Fil-A and lingered over breakfast. We were on the road by 9:30 and we'd make up ever more time later.
The last time I did this drive, I stopped after two hours so we could get out of the van and I could do a diaper change and allow Ariana to visit the restroom. Well, Jessica fell asleep about 45 minutes into the drive. That was my first reminder of how teenagers like to sleep. Elijah went to sleep about an hour and fifteen minutes into the drive. Ariana went to sleep about an hour and a half into the drive. So, when the magical two hour mark came, I looked around at everyone and just kept driving. Before long, Virginia Beach was a mere 30 miles away, then I saw a sign that said ocean front was 9 miles away. Ariana woke up, then Elijah, then Jessica. I still can't believe we were able to drive straight through with a woman, a teenager, a child and a baby.
I found our hotel without incident and parked in the area in front to check us in. Here's where having a teenager along came in handy for the first time. I jumped out and walked in alone to check us in, got the key and a luggage cart and had everything in the room in two trips. The last time? I strapped my 5 month old baby to my chest, grabbed the luggage cart and with Ariana in tow got everything into the room in 4 trips. Of course at 5 months, Elijah required a bit more equipment for travel as well. I was also a little better at packing this trip.
The room was as expected, a two room suite with a living room and a bedroom that contained 2 queen beds. The kitchenette had a mini-fridge (waist high), a counter, sink and a microwave. The living room had enough space and a table for four. There's a flat screen in both rooms, a set of drawers in each room (but we opted not to unpack). There's a desk and chair in the living room and that's where I'm sitting to write this entry. There's ample lighting, and a really large bathroom. The shower turned out to be large enough for me and both children. Finally, one nice thing I see that I have not seen in a previous suite. There's a balcony outside the living room and outside the bedroom.
I really want to get some time in out there. First night we didn't leave the hotel. When we got settled we had lunch. Once our lunch was settled, Ariana, Elijah and I hit the indoor pool. Jessica opted to relax in the room. After we returned and got cleaned up, I ordered dinner to go from the hotel restaurants and we ate in our room. One other thing that attracted me to this hotel was its three restaurants. Two of them serve lunch and dinner. The other serves breakfast. And there's three words that may actually mean Holiday Inn has my heart for quite a while. Kids eat free.