For some crazy reason, I can't get Slide.com to work with my blog right now, so you've all been spared from the MANY pictures I was going to share!
Anyway, my parents treated my family to a week in Perdido Key, Florida. It is just between Gulf Shores, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. We had a WONDERFUL and relaxing time.
The 11 hour drive was much better than we expected! The longest our kids have ever ridden in a car is five hours, so we were all a little apprehensive. I was the most worried about Mallory because she doesn't understand why she can't get out of her seat. In all honesty, she was THE BEST traveller of all the kids! She did amazingly well. She never cried once. The only time she had some trouble was just for about twenty minutes on the ride home where she called out, "Mom! Mom! Mom!" other than that she was perfect! Whew! We did try to take bathroom breaks about every two hours, and everyone went back to their seats without complaint. It makes me feel like we can attempt this again!
The beach we went to was about an hour away from Edward's sister's family. The crazy thing is about a week before we left, our brother-in-law was called to work in St. Louis (an hour from our house) for the entire week we were in Florida, and their whole family went along. How ironic was that! Anyway, they were driving home on the same day we were, and we miraculously managed to meet up as we passed each other on the highway where we pulled off for dinner together. It was WONDERFUL to be with their family, if only for an hour!
We arrived on a Saturday night. After eating dinner and shopping for groceries it was too late to go to the beach. We went to church the next day and played games before going down to the beach to take some photos. My dad had checked the weather that day and found that our area was feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Eduard and that the gulf was very dangerous. As we were taking photos that Sunday night, we saw lots of emergency vehicles about a half mile up the beach from our condo. It turns out a 56 year old man from Metairie, LA drowned while trying to help another swimmer. The next night another man drowned just a couple miles up from us in the other direction. So sad! Needless to say on Monday and Tuesday we only played in the water up to our shins.
The Wright Family Our last night in Florida we waited for a ridiculous 2 hours to eat at this restaurant (The Fish House) in Pensacola. Pretty good food, but SO not worth the wait!!!!
Grammy & Grandad & the kids I LOVE the bottom picture!!!
Playing around at the beach
The jellyfish were SO BAD the first few days we were there!!! The were all stirred up thanks to the tropical storm. Pretty much everyone in our group got stung numerous times. The best was when poor Harrison got stung and his helpful big brother alleviated his pain by urinating on his foot! I heard roars of laughter and saw Grant and Harrison off to themselves, Harrison's leg sticking out with a Grant taking aim. Brotherly love! Thanks to the education of Spongebob, Drew really wanted to make some jelly from all those jellyfish.
He also made me laugh when he told me, "I know what sand is made out of. It's made from a lot, a lot, a lot of salt and pepper.
The routine of most of our days was to eat a late breakfast, head to the beach, then I would leave early to bathe Drew and Mal in the garden tub. Taking long baths in the whirlpool was probably their favorite part of the trip. Mallory liked catching the drips from the faucet.
We took a dolphin cruise while we were there, and it was awesome! This company takes two boats out at a time, and where they know the dolphins are, they speed together side by side. The dolphins swim in between the boats and jump up out of the water. It was amazing! I would definitely recommend it to anyone!
Poor Drew was scared to death! All kids 8 and under had to wear life jackets, but no one could give him any comfort for the first 20 minutes. He was glued to the floor for fear of falling overboard. Poor little guy! It got a lot easier for him after he got more comfortable.
We went to a cheesy souvenir store (the entrance was through the shark's mouth) where there was plenty of junk for everyone! There was a lot of goofing around in there. Check out some of the charming merchandise:
goofy hats, mullet wig/hats, dog head staplers, faux kittens, and real alligator heads
We'd been promising the kids all week we would go hunt for crabs one night. On our final night there we made good on our promise, and we had a really fun time. We headed down to the beach with nets and flashlights. There were a lot of laughs because the of darkness and the thought of creatures scampering in the sand. Drew was particularly jumpy that night. We released the crabs back into the sea and sand after we'd caught about 10. The kids had a blast.
I'm entering into a new decade today, and at this point I'm fine with it. My oldest two think I am so old. Last week Edward asked the kids what they thought they should do for my birthday. It was agreed upon that I should have breakfast in bed. Elizabeth, however, told me that I had to have an "old person's breakfast of oatmeal and prunes, with Tums to finish the meal." Oh, the perspective of a child!
My sweetheart sent me the following message this morning, and it made my day:
STEPHANIE I CAN NOT BEGIN WITH THE MANY WAYS I LOVE YOU BUT I WANTED TO GIVE YOU A LIST OF AT LEAST 30 REASONS I LOVE YOU....
1) YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL TO ME....OH HOW I LOOK AT YOUR FACE AND MY HEART GOES PITTER PATTER WITH LOVE 2) YOUR ONLY WORKING DESIRE IS TO BE A MOTHER 3) YOU HAVE A TESTIMONY OF THE GOSPEL 4) YOUR LOVE OF FAMILY 5) YOUR QUIET LEADERSHIP ( I SEE THIS IN SCOUTS AND SAW IT AS A PRIMARY PRESIDENT...WOW I AM IMPRESSED) 6) YOUR UNFAILING LOVE FOR ME, REGARDLESS OF MY FAULTS 7) YOUR CAPTIVATING LAUGH 8) YOUR ABILITY TO TELL A STORY AND TELL IT WELL 9) THE SACRIFICE YOU MADE TO CARRY AND BIRTH EACH CHILD 10) I LOVE THE BLOG YOU HAVE BEGUN AND MAINTAIN 11) HOW YOU TAKE CARE OF ME WHEN I AM SICK 12) YOU COOK DINNER FOR OUR FAMILY WITHOUT COMPLAINT 13) YOU DESIRE TO ATTEND THE TEMPLE 14) YOU LOVE THE KIDS REGARDLESS OF WHAT TYPE OF DAY YOU MAY HAVE HAD 15) YOU LOVE BABIES 16) YOU ARE FUNNY 17) YOU TELL ME YOU LOVE ME 18) YOU TELL THE KIDS YOU LOVE THEM 19) YOU READ WITH THE KIDS 20) YOU TEACH THE KIDS AND ME THE PIANO 21) YOU WORK WITH TEACHING THE KIDS HOW TO WORK THROUGH OUR BELOVED CHORES 22) YOU MAKE ME WHAT EVER KIND OF CAKE/DESERT I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY. 23) YOU ARE A HARD WORKER 24) YOU KEEP ON ME ABOUT KIDS AND FAMILY PICTURES, THAT I KNOW I ENJOY AFTER THE GRUELING PICTURE TIME... 25) YOU KEEP THE HOME STOCKED WITH FOOD 26) YOU RESPECT MY FAMILY...MOM AND SIBLINGS...THANK YOU 27) YOU LOVE ALL PEOPLE 28) YOU DO NOT COMPLAIN WHEN I HAVE TO STAY LATE AT WORK, OR NEED TO GIVE EXTRA TIME IN SERVICE IN MY CALLINGS AT CHURCH 29) YOU LET THE BOYS WRESTLE, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT YOUR FAV OF SPORTS 30) BEST OF ALL I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART BECAUSE YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE!