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The Ruddy family vacation—an epic photo journey

Photo courtesy of Erin Zammett Ruddy

We just got back from a 10-day trip down to my parent’s place in Florida. It was sunny, warm, relaxing and without snow or to-do lists—just what the doctor ordered. For the first few days I was alone with my kids and my parents and my sister’s family—Nick went to a bachelor party—and while it was constant go go go (my kids do not stop moving/talking/eating/climbing/doing) we all had a blast. Then Nick arrived last Sunday and on Monday everyone else left and the Ruddys stayed put for the rest of the week. That’s the benefit of working for yourself—you can take time off whenever you want and you can work from wherever, which Nick and I both did (because that’s the other thing about working for yourself—you’re never truly off). But we mostly chilled with the kids. We hit the beach, the pool, the driving range, the bikes, even Disney. There were some low points (flying down with an overtired Nora, and no husband to help, to name one), but lots and lots of highs. Here are the best of the best:

On our first day, we drove to see the final launch of the space shuttle Discovery. It was an incredible experience and I’m so glad we did it. Alex was very impressed. 

The whole fam (minus Nick, who was partying with his buddies) after the shuttle made it safely out of the atmosphere. Hooray! 

The weather was perfect—around 80 every day—so we spent a lot of time in the pool. Nora is a serious water rat. 

Alex can officially swim all by himself. He even passed the deep-end-to-shallow-end test. Am I proud? Yes. Does this calm my kids/pool anxiety? No

Uncle Izzy took the boys to the range every day. Alex loved practicing his swing and was surprisingly good at following the rules (don’t let go of the club, don’t walk behind someone when they’re swinging, don’t talk on top of your lungs.…)


Nora loved collecting shells on the beach, which made me so happy. Some of my oldest memories are of searching for sand dollars with my Grandma Ruth. (I inherited her amazing shell collection from beaches all over the world.) 

We spent a lot of time at the beach—both of my kids love it and the wide-open space is well-suited to their non-stop energy.  

Disney! We went for one day—from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. To say we got our money’s worth is an understatement. 

Walking down Main Street U.S.A. with my girl. 

Al on the teacups—not my favorite ride (dizziness!), but there was no line so we did it a few times. 

Surprisingly, Nora could go on almost every ride—like Aladdin’s magic carpet ride—and she loved them all (except for Pirates of the Caribbean, where both kids were petrified—whoops!)   

The people mover! Otherwise known as a much-needed break for the parents since it’s basically the longest ride in Disney and never has a line (because, well, it’s boring). 

Waiting on line for the last ride of the night (Winnie the Pooh, for the fourth time). Can you tell how spent we all are? 

We stayed for the fireworks show (worth it!) and as soon as the last blast faded, Alex passed out in Nora’s stroller and she passed out in my arms. The sign of a great day and a GREAT vacation!