Monday, August 20, 2012

Back at the beach, baby!

Okay, so we miss Kansas. A lot! But you know what we don't miss? Being land locked. Kansas makes up for it with fabulous seasons including brilliant fall colors and beautiful snowy days in the winter. However, we are very happy to live close to the beach again. We have been here now for 2 months and have taken 3 trips to the beach. Granted, the first one was a quick day trip, but why not? When you're this close and you have nothing to do on a beautiful Saturday, you might as well take advantage.

Our first trip was in July just 2 weeks after we moved. We loaded up the fam (including our dog) and make the hour and a half trip down South to the ocean. The kids hadn't seen the beach in a really long time so they started screaming when we crossed over the bridge and they could see the water. I was screaming on the inside, but I kept it in check. Sort of.

We headed for the ocean immediately! Who knew day trips could be this much fun?

Checking out the pier with Dad.

And then we drove over to my favorite place in the world, Seaside! I cannot believe I actually live somewhere close enough to where I can come here for the day! We made a quick stop for ice cream and I couldn't have been happier.

The next beach trip was for my 34th (gasp) birthday. My parents drove down and joined us for 2 days at Panama City Beach. We got an amazing deal on a condo and had a great time relaxing and enjoying quality family time.

There were turtles and fish in a little bay right outside our condo and the kids had a blast feeding them. I think the critters down below were having a blast as well.

Ahhh.... finally in the sand! Bennett got confused as to which bucket was hers. The sand was clouding up her senses a bit.

Chillin' in the ocean...

...and hanging out on the beach with Mommy Suttle.

It's always pretty fun to crash in the waves with your Grandaddy.

We stayed at an amazing resort with fabulous swimming pools, swim up bars, restaurants, and amenities. Not a bad way to spend your birthday, that's for sure.

That night we celebrated the big 3-4 at The Back Porch, a great Panama City Beach staple.

Happy 34th to me indeed! If you could have asked me 20 years ago where I would want to be now, I think this picture would have been my answer.

We hung out that night at Pier Park which is a great shopping/entertainment area. They had a really fun boardwalk area and it was a great way to end a perfect day. Will got to ride the Merry-go-round with Daddy.

Bennett rode the Ferris Wheel with Daddy Suttle. That thing went high. And fast. She wasn't scared at all. My Dad said he was more nervous than she was. She's fearless, I tell ya.

And our whole family rode some spinny thing that made me nauseous, but it was a memory. Right?

And 2 beautiful pictures of my girl. She's as expressive as they come and I love that about her.

Our third trip to the beach was a last minute surprise. It didn't come together until three days before we went. My awesome and hilarious friend Casey Starnes visited the beaches down South a few weeks ago and had a left over groupon for a dolphin cruise that she never used. She asked if anyone wanted it and I thankfully snagged it first. Then a very good friend of ours from Montgomery offered us his beach condo and we could not have been more appreciative or grateful. So we unexpectedly headed back down to the beach this past weekend. See, living in Dothan has major advantages.

Taking a walk with my little ones to the pier.

Will did not want to take any more pictures so I got a good one of Rob and B.

My favorite thing in the world. I could sit there and just watch the ocean and build sand castles all day. Maybe I will have this one framed and any time I feel stressed out I will go back to this place. It was just glorious.

I wonder about her sometimes.

Following behind my baby boy.

That night we drove to Destin for our awesome sunset dolphin cruise. Thanks so much, Casey!! The weather was gorgeous and we loved just hanging out on the boat enjoying the breeze and the water.

Love these peeps! More than anything.

The boat docked on a little inlet and you could wade up to the shore and hunt for shells and crabs. I stayed on the boat, but Rob and the kids spent about half an hour at sunset digging through the sand and exploring the beach. 

Sadly, we didn't see dolphins this time around, but it was a wonderful evening and we were so grateful for it! After we got back to the dock, we spent some time walking around Harborwalk Village. Here's a shot of the boardwalk from the boat.

If you live near Destin, you have to check this place out. The boardwalk was so energetic and we found tons of stuff to do for the kids even late at night.

They took a train ride through the streets.

And we enjoyed a free outdoor movie playing at the amphitheatre.

The next day we headed back to the ocean and to the pool for more family time.

That night we went to a restaurant for some typical beach food. They sat us outside overlooking the beach which is just what I wanted. Hush puppies, a view of the ocean, and someone local beach band covering Jimmy Buffet. Will was astounded that there weren't any windows at this restaurant. It was quite disturbing to him for awhile.


Then we headed to the beach for some last minute family photos before heading home. Who knows when we will be back, but with the way it's been going for us, I would say 2 weeks. 

What a perfect way to end the summer. I could not be more grateful.


starnes family said...

1. I almost fell out of my chair at the sight of a new header. Seriously. Darling!

2. I'm SO glad you got to use the Groupon. I wasn't even going for the dolphins....I wanted to go shelling and crab hunting at sunset!

3. You MUST frame that pic - or better yet, print on canvas - of you and the two kids sitting by the water. The one where you said you just sit and relax. I have a few awesome sites for affordable canvas.......let me know if you want them!

4. You know I love San Diego, but Seaside for the day? I would be so happy. That town is just too cute. There is an AWESOME art shop just off the may have been....I got 2 cute pieces on our last trip. Let me know if you want to directions.

5. Longest comment ever? Yep!

6. Oh, one more. I need your address. I have some seer sucker pieces that I want to pass down to you.....boys and girls. I tried to sell it here in Cali at high end resale shops and they won't touch the stuff. I know, right? Who doesn't want Kellys Kids?!

terrymary said...

Even though we all miss you in Kansas, I am so glad you are happy! We really must plan a trip to the beach with you. It's my favorite vacation destination and I really miss babysitting Bennett and Will!