Well, I finally booked the rest of our hotel rooms for our trip, so I guess we're in decent shape. We haven't done a long vacation in a long time (since our Florida trip before Jacob was born), and that was such a cheap-o vacation considering we had free accomodations courtesy of a prize from a golf tournament. We still had to fly there, rent a card, and buy Disney tickets and food, but all things considered, it was cheap for such a pleasant (and well-timed) vacation. This time around, the hotel costs for five nights away are a bit of a bummer. But I did them as cost-effectively as I could, and I think they'll be good. I did take a slight chance and book one room with a king bed and a pullout couch, hoping that the pullout couch would be about equal in comfort to Jacob's crib mattress. It's our Philly room, and it was the least scary hotel I could find in our price range that is convenient to anything we're doing. It's near the baseball stadium, which means we can park there for free (big savings, I'd assume) and walk to the game. While I'm normally the one who books any sort of free hotel breakfast I can, we'll only have one at our Atlantic City hotel. Our first night will be spent in Allentown, and I decided that good reviews and a super comfy bed (Sleep Number!) trumped free breakfast over a similarly priced hotel with free breakfast and some iffy cleanliness reviews. We'll see how it all pans out. If nothing else, we can introduce Jacob to fast free breakfasts...yum. I do think all three have free internet, so that's helpful for killing evenings after Jacob's asleep...assuming that ever happens. We're definitely going to have to get creative on that one, since activity is a detriment to sleep. That was a huge issue last year in Pittsburgh, so I'm not sure what the plan is this time. Well-placed car rides? Perhaps I'll just assume we'll have issues, plan to go to bed early with him, and be pleasantly surprised if we get to stay up late. If nothing else, maybe that means we'll get a lot of sleep and yet won't need to waste the day sleeping in!
The plan is to go to a minor league baseball game in Allentown on Saturday, go to the Phillies game on Sunday afternoon, explore the city a bit in the evening, do the zoo Monday morning, more exploring later in the day, leave for Atlantic City Tuesday morning, spend Tuesday and Wednesday at one shore locale or another--Atlantic City one day, Ocean City another. There might be an aquarium visit in there somewhere, along with a good dose of beach and boardwalk time. Thursday morning we'll visit our friends (Jacob's buddy Colin and his NEW baby sister--ahhh, baby fix!) before heading home for the long drive. The big bummer is that the Baseball Hall of Fame was originally in our plans but had to be scrapped because it's a full two hours of extra travel and just seemed to make for an untolerably extra long trip. We'll make it there eventually for sure, but just not this trip. It'll make for a full week, but I think the beach time is key to having a low-key trip. I hope.
While I'm concerned about the long drives, my biggest fear is that Jacob will find ways to spoil everything. We had that problem last year in Pittsburgh, too, and while I see so many differences in Jacob in recent months, his behavior is unfortunately that much different than last year. In some ways I suppose it's better (in between tantrums) and in some ways it's worse (the tantrums are ridiculous). I hate to put in all this effort only to have him not want to participate and end up complaining about how he just wants to come home and play baseball or lacrosse. He's three, so I know that's a possibility, but I still hope that he'll be so wowed by some of the stuff we're doing that he won't even think that much about sports while we're gone. It will always be there, of course, but it won't be the only thing. I can hope.
I'm excited, but I still have so much to do. I need to do laundry tomorrow night (primarily to have enough socks and underwear to get Jacob through the week), and I haven't packed a single thing for myself. I printed off all of our hotel stuff tonight, as well as my travel checklist (which needs many additions for a trip like this), and I bought some snacks and drinks to bring with us. It's a start. And tomorrow is Jacob's daycare carnival, so it's going to be yet another busy night. Yikes! Oh, the things we do just to "relax"...