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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Beach Trip Day 5-Red Bar

So when we woke up on Friday, we only had a short time before we had to return our bikes.  We hopped on them and rode down to Donut Hut.  24 hours with the bikes was just not long enough.  I'm contemplating just parking the car and only traveling by bike during our stay next time.  
Anyways.....the donuts looked amazing!  But I wouldn't know because I refrained from eating any!
Cody's apple fritter was the size of his head.
And Brooks was totally eyeing NG's sprinkled donut!
We returned the bikes and then headed to the beach for our last day.  I thoroughly enjoyed holding this little boy while he napped.  This never happens at home so it was a treat! 
He was all smiles in his little pool!
After our time on the beach, we cleaned up and dressed in coordinating outfits in hopes that I could snap a few sweet pictures!
Mission accomplished
These pictures were taken at our condo but I really wanted some on the beach so I hoped no one got too messy between dinner and the time we could find to go to the beach!
We ate dinner at Red Bar.  We arrived fairly early because I knew it would get so crowded and we didn't want to have to fight the crowds with two small kids.  We walked right in and were seated on the patio.  Cody and I both ordered crab cakes because that's what they're known for.  I'll be honest.....I wasn't impressed.  I'm not sure if it was the extra hot setting we were in or the lady at the table next to us that kept giving the unwanted advice on children raising!
  
We ate dessert at Blue Mountain Beach Creamery
I broke my three months of no sugar steak while here!  I had watched these two eat ice cream and sweets all week and finally decided to cave and partake.  When Nora didn't want her ice cream, I ate a few bites before I could even think twice about it!
I thought about hiring a professional photographer to take family pictures but they are soooo expensive and B is just not at the best age to spend a ton of money to try and get pictures of. So we stopped at one of the national parks to get a few pictures on the beach after dinner and dessert.  I can always count on Nora to cooperate for a few pictures....it may take a few threats or bribes but she will participate.
Little brother on the other hand was exhausted and in no mood for pictures.  He wasn't being bad but he did not want to sit still and smile.  He actually did a face plant in the sand and his poor little face was covered but he didn't fuss!
I did snap one good picture of the little sweetie in the sand.
But he was not going to let us get a family picture!
B was so over pictures


Although he was tired and in desperate need of a nap, he still smiled when thrown in the air or with his toes in the sand!  
 One more beach vacation post to wrap up our 2018 Black family vacay!



Saturday, June 9, 2018

Beach Trip Day 4-Bike Riding & Hurricanes

One thing I was excited about after booking our condo was the fact that there was a bike/equipment rental store right across the street!  So after reserving our beach chairs for the day, we walked across the street and picked up a few bikes and the trailer for the kids to ride in.
We rode along the bike trails for several miles but it was hot!!!
The kids loved our ride but we didn't stay out too long because we knew it was a little hot for comfort in their trailer and we wanted to get on the beach!  We had the bikes rented for 24 hours so we locked them up at our condo (there are bike racks everywhere!!!) and planned to ride more later.
I spent a lot of time under the beach umbrella with Brooks.  His little pool fit under the umbrella so he could play in the shade and then I held him there for naps.  I had a dermatologist appointment right after our vacation and I knew if I got much sun, I would get in trouble.  Even thought I applied sunscreen and wasn't directly in the sun much, I still got scolded by my dermatologist and told that I needed to apply sunscreen more often and wear a water shirt when in the sun.
So when it was time to pick a date for my next yearly appointment, I made sure to move it up a few weeks and go before another beach vacation!!!!
Cody and Nora dug a huge hole on the beach and Nora loved running and jumping into it while yelling "cannon bomb!"
This boy was a total sweetheart......I was surprised he had zero meltdowns or fits.
Later that evening we went to dinner at Hurricane Oyster.
The food was so yummy
And we enjoyed sitting outside.  One of the only negatives I can think of about the area we stayed in is the lack of restaurants on the beach.  I love having dinner and watching the ocean but that just wasn't an option.  Instead we had a pond to look at and "beware of alligators" sign.  We didn't see any gators, but several turtles were around.
After dinner, we went back to our condo and hopped on our bicycles.  
We rode a few miles over to Seaside and the fam had dessert at Heavenly Shortcakes.
Seaside has a little town square with food trucks and a stage for nightly entertainment.  We were there late enough that the scheduled performance was finished so Nora Grace did a little performance of her own on stage.  
I will say it was super hard to ride the bikes in an unfamiliar area later in the evening.  There are bicycle paths all over but they aren't lit.  It's like the whole area shuts down at a certain point every evening and people just disappear.  We had a quiet ride home and I was trying to use the flashlight on my phone to get us home.  

Friday, June 8, 2018

Beach Trip Day 3-Surfing Deer & The Hub

I started this day on the beach with a little photo shoot of the most adorable baby boy.  He was really showing off his babiators and being so photogenic.
And big sister is always looking cute for pictures!
We played on the beach until the chair keeper (not sure of his official title) started taking down all of the umbrellas because it looked like a storm was coming.  We headed back to our condo when it started to lightly sprinkle.  We did lunch, the kids took naps, and Cody and I sat on the balcony and enjoyed this view.
The storm never came so after naps we went down to the pool to swim.  Brooks enjoys kicking his legs while floating around the pool.
And Nora had a chance to show dad everything she has learned at swim lessons.....after removing the floaties of course.
I made reservations for dinner that evening at Surfing Deer.  It looked a little fancy but they had a kids menu so I made our reservations for five o'clock so we could avoid the crowd in case our two kiddos weren't so well behaved.  But we were basically the only patrons at the restaurant, we had the entire patio to ourselves to begin with.
And the food......it was so tasty!!!! We had clothesline bacon as an appetizer.  It was a bit pricey but the food was yummy and we'll definitely go back!
Nora kept wanting to stick her hands in the pools of water so I was glad we came early and weren't surrounded by people.
And this little guy was again, just happy to be outdoors.
Our waiter was telling us about all the famous people he's waited on so I was hoping we'd run into someone cool while on vacation but I'm assuming they all probably go to dinner a little later than 5 pm.
After dinner we went to the Hub 30a for ice cream and an outdoor movie.  
Nora really enjoyed it.  It was the perfect place for families with small kids.
So I haven't even elaborated on where we stayed this year.  Two years ago while we were on vacation in Destin, we decided to drive over to this Seaside place we kept hearing so much about and check it out.  I looked into staying there a little bit and everything was sooo expensive.  It was mainly large houses for rent and not many condos or high rises, and no hotels at all.  So last year we made a last minute decision to do a quick trip to Desin in June and we had to stay in a hotel.  We had a lot of fun but everything was soooo crowded that we decided we would plan way ahead of time for this years vacation and not stay in Destin again.  So I started looking into rentals around 30a at the beginning of the year and found a unit with condos that met all our needs.  We booked for the end of May, hoping to avoid some of the large crowds, but mainly because of something Cody would have going on with work at the beginning of June and then be a bit tied up the rest of the summer.  We could not be happier with where we stayed......it was in a great location, not too busy, restaurants where nearby, and the unit we stayed in had recently been remodeled and was really nice.  
I'm almost ready to pack up and go back.....

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Beach Trip Day 2-The Back Porch & The Track

We did vacation at our own pace!!!  Cody would go down to the beach every morning around nine to reserve a few beach chairs for us.  Then when we all got ready, we hauled our load to the beach and set up fort.  This is Nora's third beach trip, she has always loved the sand and the ocean but we had no clue how Brooks would react.
This boy loves to be outside and the beach quickly became his new favorite place! 
So I told Cody before our trip that I was going to pick up one of those cheap little baby pools at Wal-Mart for Brooks to play in on the beach.  He said "nah, let's just wait till we get there and we'll find one.  We'll have so much stuff, I don't want to haul that too".  
So what did we do?  We stopped at Wal-Mart (in Clarksville) the night before our trip and picked up a little pool!  And he thought I was crazy but I just insisted.  It really didn't take up too much room, I mean that's kinda why we upgraded to a bigger car....to haul around important things like a $6 plastic baby pool.  So anyways we arrived to the beach, the only place within like a 60 mile radius that would sale such a thing was Publix.  And they were fresh out of baby pools.  So this momma said "I told you so!"
And look at this boy......he thoroughly enjoyed his baby pool that came all the way from AR.
In fact, Nora enjoyed playing in it a little bit too.
We let B put his toes in the ocean briefly but it's so big and scary that he didn't get very far in the water so I'm glad he had the pool to play in.  He just splashed and splashed!
We also took sand shovels, bucket, ect. to play with in the sand.  The two biggest kids (NG and Cody that is) got some good use out of those items.
Brooks was such a good baby!  He's pretty particular about his sleeping.....he likes to be in his crib where it's nice and quiet.  But he would get so tired at the beach, he'd drift off while being held and then nap under the umbrella.
After a full day of playing on the beach, we went to the room to get ready for dinner.
We decided The Back Porch was worth fighting the traffic and making the trip into Destin for.  Last year I had the most amazing pecan encrusted snapper (it may have been so good because I was pregnant?!) that I've been dying to go back and have more of it.  And guess what?  It's no longer on their menu!  The tuna dip did not disappoint but the rest of my meal did.  
We went to dinner a little early, at like five, and there was zero wait at all.  We walked right in and were seated so we let Nora play outside the restaurant after dinner.
And then I tried to get a few pictures of the kiddos in their matching outfits!
Family pic!
After dinner we went to The Track and Nora made me look like the worst mom ever.  See I have a weird obsession with driving go-karts.  And last year when we came to the beach, I had to sit and watch while Cody and Nora cruised the track because I was pregnant.  So this year, riding go-karts with my daughter was on the top of my to do list.  We got in line together to ride and she started to melt down. I said every line in the book to get her to chill out but it wasn't happening.  So we get in our go-kart and I can tell the worker is wondering if we need to just unbuckle and get back out.  I insist "this will be fun", please child just relax.  But oh no, she didn't, she screamed the entire ride and I didn't even get to enjoy myself.  I'm surprised CPS wasn't waiting on me at the exit gate of the go-kart rides.  But have no fear, she lived, she's fine, and she has somewhat overcome her fear of go carts......just continue reading.
Upon arriving, we loaded up our track card with $50 worth of rides.  I had a coupon and it sounded like a good idea at the time.  And then we realized NG hates go-carts and half the kiddie rides were not in service.  So Cody decided to drive the go-carts alone and show how fun it can be.  I'll spare him the embarrassment by not posting the picture of the "this is the best day of my life" picture I took while he was proving to NG that go-carts are a blast.
So our excellent parenting persuasions motivated Nora to try again, this time on the smaller go-cart track.  She was having fun in the picture below, so much fun that she decided she wanted to ride again, this time with mom!  I was elated, although the smaller track does not go near as high or fast.
And Brooks was just happy to be there.  I can't wait till he's big enough to ride so we can have girls against boy races, bwahahaha!
After our adventures at the track, the fam (excluding myself and B) wanted ice cream.  Cody wanted to try Bruster's.  He kept going on and on about it seriously was the best ice cream he had ever tasted.  And if looks could kill, he would be a dead man.
I've been on a diet.  It's brutal and I hate it but it's working and I was trying to be as devout a dieter that I could at this point.  And he even got some flavor with toffee in it, which is my favorite.  He has always claimed he dislikes toffee so for all these years, I've been kind enough to not make desserts and such with toffee so that he could eat them too.  And then he had the audacity to eat toffee flavored ice cream, claiming it was the best thing ever right in front of me.
I know, I sound like a scorned woman talking but you try no sugar for ten weeks and see if that doesn't make you a bit bitter!  (I'm only kidding!)
Seriously though, aside from the meltdown at the track, and the lack of ice cream for me, this beach trip was an absolute blast!