John David Takes Alabama: in which I am reminded that vacation with a toddler isn’t exactly vacation.


Our adorable JD is bringing in his second birthday with a bang.




We arrived in Alabama with much excitement. Vacation, whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! I spent the first few days of it in Florida with my mom, and it was paradise indeed.

Then I reunited with my children. We put JD to bed, and that’s when I remembered. Vacation groooooaaaaaaan. Vacation with a toddler. Does it really qualify as “vacation”?

There are still fun times, but the story of vacation week #2 is definitely all about the little fellow we sometimes refer to as Angry Bird, a nickname he lives up to at night when you put him in a crib that is not his familiar bed at home.

He likes to stand up in his crib and shout and holler and fake cry for 10-15 minutes, which feels like 30. Then he, ever so carefully, lies down and covers himself back up with his blanket and goes to sleep.

I’ve told you before that JD does not like change. His coping method has been to fasten his body to my lap all day. Anywhere we go, we go together. He is literally overjoyed to have his mama back. How dare I leave him for 4 whole nights???

It’s so sweet, really. He climbs all over me grinning and giggling, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” That’s all well and good, and I do enjoy it, until we’re in the pool, and I think I’m about to drown, or he holds on to my clavicle like it’s a safety rail. Yow!

We hear the same words a lot from JD lately:

“Mom? Mom? Mom.”

“lap. lap.”

“Want juice.”

“Noooo. Juice.”

“Cars. McQueen. Cars. McQueen.”

“Want Cars.”

“Want to go walk. Go walk.”

“Donut. Donut?”


“Slide? Swing?”

“Mac. Doc. McQueen.”

“Read to me.”


“Here you go.”

“Yes ma’am. Un’er’tand.”

“Pee pee.”

Wait a minute. Did he say pee pee?

Yesterday, Mom and I took all of the boys to a water park. It’s the best work out ever. That’s not due to all the swimming I do there. It’s because JD is very heavy to carry around in the 90 degree heat. I ate all the onion rings I wanted at lunch, knowing full well that I was burning about 300 calories an hour, carrying JD around.


I didn’t take any water park pictures, but here we are, afterwards. Yes, I really have that many freckles. They multiply in the sunshine.

We’d been there about 30 minutes, when Daniel announced that he had to go to the bathroom. I think I have the only kids in America that NEVER pee in the pool. Mom was at the water slides with the big boys, and I was at the kiddie pool with the little ones, so I had to take JD to the bathroom with us. He hates his sandals, so I carried him everywhere.

Guess how long we spent in the bathroom. 30 minutes. First, the toilet was too tall, so I had to lift Dan up in the air for him to pee.

I cringed the whole time to see poor JD standing in the bathroom floor barefoot.  Ewwww. Best Mom ever.

As soon as I put Dan down, he said the dreaded words, “I have to go poop.”

Ooooo, no. Why didn’t he inherit my refusal to do that in public? I set him up and closed up the stall.

I turned and looked at JD, who thankfully, is the kind of toddler that never wants to wander away from me and actually listens when I say, “Stay with me.” (Thank you, JD.)

JD pulled on his trunks, which are a size 18 months, pulled as tight as they can go, and still are falling off of him. The he said the dreaded words, “Pee pee. Pee pee.”

No, JD is not potty trained. He’s been standing in front of the potty asking to go pee, unable to make anything come out for months.  Of course, he suddenly figured out how to make it actually come out on vacation.

First, I looked for another toilet. What do you know? The other stalls had shorter toilets! Wha? Poor Daniel. So I started to help JD, figuring he’d just stand there and nothing would happen, as usual.

Nope. He peed all over me and the floor. I know that it was pee and not pool water because it was hot.

Cheer or cringe? Cheer or cringe?

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be returning to the potty training phase. We won’t be trying to work on this until we return home, but we have a little fellow that is obviously ready.


Caleb’s teeth, blue from the snow cone.



Mom and I also took the boys to Chuck E Cheese. The three oldest had a blast. JD had fun too, but oh gracious. Never take a 2-year-old to Chuck E Cheese unless you absolutely have to do so. That’s my best advice.


Nana and the boys, after a day of fun


I figured he’d like the ride-on cars. No. He cried. I thought he’d like the thing you climb up in. I was actually relieved he didn’t go near that. I would have had to climb up in the thing and fetch him when he realized how high he was and started crying, like he did on the elephant slide in the kiddie pool.

Thankfully, he did love the pizza and air hockey. He played air hockey with his hands instead of the bumper thingy, but hey, he played, so I was happy.

It’s just hard to enjoy Chuck E Cheese when you’re two because everything is taller than you, hard to push, and apparently, rides are very scary for some.


Joshua’s pants broke right as we got there, so he wasn’t feeling too happy. Does anyone know a great place to buy shorts for thin kids??

By the way, do you see JD’s hands? They are FULL of cars from the movie Cars. He carries them around everywhere, all the time.


JD is getting more used to Alabama now. I am sitting in the living room, watching Hoodwinked with the kids and my dad, and wonder of wonders! JD is not in here climbing into my lap! I can actually hear him in the kitchen playing cars! Hallelujah!


By the way, don’t bother texting me this week. I also drowned my cell phone. I put it in the bottom of the stroller with a water bottle that leaked.

The funny thing is that I haven’t missed my phone at all. I feel FREE, really really FREE! Cell phones are sort of a ball and chain, aren’t they? In fact, the only thing I will potentially miss is the GPS.

Meanwhile, you can email me, contact me on Facebook, or call my mom. I’m more of a laptop girl anyway. Sorry, y’all!

I hope you are all having a great week. We are sunburnt, bug bitten, bothered by gnats, and eating all the southern vegetables and fried chicken a person could want! Life is good. Roll Tide!

My parents put this up for the kids.

My parents put this up for the kids. It’s 100 degrees outside!!

Just clicking is voting. Thank you!!


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