i miss you madly and it's raining on the coast

This past week? What a whirlwind. After months of debating with myself, I finally took the plunge on my first roadtrip all by myself with Ethan. I was mostly concerned about the getting there and getting back in one piece thing. I have the worst sense of direction and complete out-of-this-world anxiety when it comes to driving (especially on highways -- I cringe just thinking about it now!) and when you pair all that with the fact that my kid is the one who spent months crying so hard he'd vomit on just a five minute trip to the grocery store, the idea was daunting. The three-hour each-way trek? Yeah. It ended up being easier than I anticipated. On both trips there and home, a tired out Ethan snoozed for the majority of our time in the car.

Most people heard me mention Orlando and assumed a trip to Disney World was in the works but it most definitely wasn't (and not just because I despise Disney World). Orlando is where my husband and I went to college, where we first started our lives together at just eighteen years old (funny how I recall being such an adult then and now I look back and realize what children we were!). It's where we learned, worked, lived and grew together all those years ago and though I definitely do not like the city of Orlando itself (to put it gently), I do so love so many of the friends who live there, the places we frequented there and -- oh, heck, I'm basically a sucker for nostalgia. I may have even gotten tears in my eyes as I strolled Ethan across the campus where I attended college, pointing out the buildings where I took my first college classes as a freshman. The truth of it all is when I was actually attending college there, it was the last college I ever wanted to end up at and so my time walking those same pathways and halls was usually filled with tears and homesick phonecalls home. It's funny how time erases that sort of thing and fills the void with a whole new take on things and the familiar comfort of nostalgia.

Ethan had a blast save for nighttime when he couldn't really get used to his new surroundings and his travel crib and while nearly five days felt so long, our days were packed full and there were so many people and places I didn't get to see. (After all, how can you expect to fit four years worth of people and places into five measly days?) And of course my camera batteries died when we were at Katie's (from Look, I Can Grow People) house and Ethan was playing adorably with her little girl, Lila. But all in all, it was a great trip and we came back like tourists with t-shirts and postcards from our former alma maters and pictures from the buildings and billboards that we used to see everyday all those years ago. Most importantly, we made it back in one piece.

In case you were wondering how meals are served to toddlers while crashing at a single friend's kid-less (and way, way hip) loft-style apartment, this is how that works out:

A good friend of ours was about to begin her first year teaching and we couldn't wait to stop by and see her very first classroom. Ethan tested everything out, you know, to make sure the kids would like it. (He is certain they will.)

We reconnected with old friends (and new doggies)!

We made new memories at the ceramics studio I spent just about everyday at during college...

We found the time to make new memories at new parks that even I'd never been to before.

It felt good to get away, good to see everyone, good to see old familiar places that I wasn't sure if we'd ever really see again. It's also good to be back in our own beds and home, good to be back with my husband after the longest time we've all spent apart since his business trip when Ethan was six weeks old. Still, I'm glad we went and thankful for all of our new memories.

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