(Disclaimer: I am having an impossible time with the layout of this post and its pictures. Apologies for the headache that may ensue from jumping all over the screen. I have no time to spend editing the layout. Just gotta get it out there before naptime ends!)
The past few months, I've thought about our summer vacation of 2015 non-stop. As I was blogging Hannah's birthday, I realized I never took the time to write some of it down. So, even though we are 7 months out from the vacation, I want to put in what I can remember since I think it will go down as a favorite family memory.
I was not raised in a beach family and Andrew really wasn't either, so heading to the beach for our first time as a family of 5 felt pretty intimidating. Naturally, I did lots of planning (SO fun to me) and picked my friends' brains for ideas. We decided on the earlier part of May since we were already finished with school, it wasn't too hot yet, the beaches wouldn't be too crowded, and it was MUCH cheaper. We headed out on a Saturday morning. The kids were beside themselves with excitement!
It was quite a drive there, but Jonah didn't fuss at all until the last 45 minutes or so. I'm pretty sure our Google map re-routed us 109 times because we would see that we had 45 minutes left and suddenly we'd turn and have 2 hours left. Frustrating, but thanks to the $50 of toys I scraped up from the Target dollar aisle, we had lots of junk to break and throw in the floor. ;) We arrived that afternoon around 4pm and the kids got to see the beach for the first time. That was a fun thing to experience as a parent. There was no waiting to be had. We immediately changed into our swimsuits and headed out to the water. Their energy was almost palpable! We played and swam and on the patio at the resort restaurant. The kids were STOKED about the splash park attached to the condo, and were equally as excited to sleep together in a HOTEL with their very own TV in their room.
The next several days were spent with this general schedule:
9 am- Breakfast on the patio
11:30am- Lunch on the patio
1:00pm- Nap for Jonah, beach or splash park for the bigs
5:30 pm- dinner on the town
7:30pm- walk on the beach, catch crabs
8:30pm- cartoons and snacks
Sometimes we would go to the little strip mall for ice cream or ride into the busier part of PCB to sight see, but we mainly stuck to the resort grounds and local restaurants.
Someone gave us a great tip to bring a blow up baby pool to fill with water for Jonah. It was a fantastic idea! He tolerated the water pretty well at the beach since he could come and go, but he was NOT a fan of the pool. He'd be wearing his puddle jumpers and whining as he floated. It was quite humorous. Family vacay, bud. Can't always get your way!
Drew was an absolute thrill seeker and kept me on the edge of my seat. He rode every wave he could get to, gathered hundreds of seashells, floated away from me more times than I could count one day....etc, etc. HE LOVED IT. He could be a beach bum all day every day.
Hannah enjoyed the beach a lot, but she also enjoyed the splash park part. She started swimming on her own for the first time! We had our hands full watching Drew and Hannah at the pool with no floaties AND Jonah who kept running, etc, but I wouldn't have changed a thing about it.
It was amazing. It was relaxing. It was magical. It was fun. It was
everything I always wanted a family vacation to be! I would be lying to
say I wouldn't change a thing. I would have slathered Andrew in
sunscreen since he decided he "never burns" and would be fine. He
learned his lesson the hard way and spend one great day in the sun,
followed by several days in the condo and wearing a tshirt under the
umbrella on the beach.
After the kids went to bed at night, Andrew and I would sit on the patio and talk and listen to the waves. Perfection!
On the way home we got to see some of our dearest friends in Alabama and eat some of our favorite food on the trip. Definitely made the trip home not so hard to bear! It took us almost 13 hours to get home, and it was definitely more difficult than the trip down. Jonah cried and fussed the last 2 1/2 hours or so, and we were ALL thankful when he FINALLY fell asleep....15 minutes from the house. Oh, the irony!