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Monday, July 18, 2016

Gulf Shores 2016 (Part 3)

Today is the final installment of summer vacation 2016. And honestly it is just more of the same. Mainly a bunch of beach pictures. Jeremy and I played hard with the boys and we did our fair share of relaxing. Because with 3 little boys and a beach full of sand, they definitely don't need us to entertain them. They also made friends, which meant we made friends too (that we'll probably never see again). Holden always makes us some friends when we go on vacation. :) It's one of my favorite pieces of his personality. And so very different than my own.
I attempted to make Pax into a sand merman. :)
 They love the sand.
 This boy's favorite view. 
 Our favorite dinner spot in the area, Cosmos.
My boys before a dinner out.
 A quick stop at the souvenir shop.
 We spent a few nights crab hunting on the beach. Such a fun and sweet memory. Holden was a pro. Pax was a little timid. And Abe really wanted to do it. His reflexes are not quite as fast as the crabs. But it was hilarious to listen to him squeal each time he saw one.
And a few pictures from our last day in the sand. 
Why is it so captivating?!
After I snapped this one of Holden, I walked over to him and just stood with him quietly as he looked out into the ocean. He knew it was our last day and it didn't take him long to break the silence with "can we come back next year?" Boy after my own heart. Vacation is ending and he starts thinking about the next.
This sweet, peaceful boy doing what he loves.
And then there's the words for this one except...goodness, the sand highlighting those crazy long eyelashes. I plan to find a place in our house for those last 4 pictures.
For weeks leading up to our trip, the forecast for the area was not looking great. It was saying we would have a couple of days without rain, but it would be a cloudy week and lots of rain. Each day we were there, the rain held off and the sun shone brightly. I would check my weather app on my my phone each day and it would be postponing the rain for another day. There was only one really windy day that was overcast and that was when we decided to go to the Alligator Farm. So the morning we were leaving to get on the road, the clouds released and all the rain came down. I said an extra thank you to God that he had given us a beautiful, sunny week. Just seeing all of these pictures again makes me happy and gives me a desire to hop in the car and go back. These beach vacations are a huge highlight for our family each year.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Gulf Shores 2016 (Part 2)

Something new we did on this vacation was visit Alligator Alley in Summerdale, Alabama. We bought a Groupon for it before we left home. The weather forecast for our trip was not looking favorable and we thought it would be a good non-beach day activity. It definitely was a good choice. I'm glad we decided to do this. Basically it was like a zoo for alligators. You toured the place at your own pace. They had the alligators divided up by size...from small babies to the big daddies. On this day, we learned that our boys would probably never survive Disney World because at this small park, we heard multiple complaints about how tired they were of walking.
Here we are at the entrance. The big boys are holding alligator food. No worries - they both shared with Abe. :)
 How could I resist these cute photo ops?!
 Pax was the first brave boy that wanted to hold the small gator. Notice his mouth is taped shut.
 But Abe couldn't wait to get his hands on it.
 And probably the most timid of the 3, but really, he didn't hesitate. He just wasn't jumping to hold it first.
See evidence of tired feet? I'm afraid by next year, Holden's toes will be dragging the ground. They for sure will be dragging if he is on my back. :)
 After feeding the gators all of our food, Pax wanted to empty out the crumbs into the gator area. Our famous last words were: Just don't drop the cups. We wanted to save them as souvenirs. Well, well, thing we knew an alligator had his entire set of chompers stuck inside our stack of cups. Oh well. At least we got to see this man wrestle him down for our cups.
 As we drove back through Gulf Shores to head back to our condo, we made a last minute decision to eat dinner at Lulu's. It's such a great family place. I've mentioned it on the blog the last two years. They have live music, tons of activities and a pretty great menu. But if you have children anything like mine, they leave filthy. Or in Abe's case this time, nearly naked. He was soaked with water and sand, so we stripped him down once we got to the car. 
While we waited on our food to arrive, the big boys got to do this. Which meant that they missed out on the sand and water play, so they stayed relatively clean. It was a full and fun day with a little break from the ocean.
One last vacation installment to come....

Friday, June 24, 2016

Gulf Shores 2016 (Part 1)

For the third year in a row we have traveled to this beautiful, relaxing little area of Alabama for our family vacation. We can't get enough of this place. In 2014 we took our first trip to Gulf Shores, AL. In 2015 we stayed in Orange Beach, which is minutes from Gulf Shores. You can't really tell the difference as you cross from one beach town to the other one. And this year, we drove a little further out of Gulf Shores to a place called Fort Morgan. All 3 locations have the beautiful white sugar sands and the refreshing ocean. Fort Morgan was probably my least favorite, but only because we like to dine out a few nights for dinner. And this location had us in the car for about 15 minutes to get back into town where the restaurants are located. After a full day of sun, sand and surf, it was not uncommon to pull up to a restaurant, and turn around to find 3 little boys sound asleep. But I really have no complaints. It was another fabulous and relaxing family vacation. Our boys are beach bums. They love to play in the sand and run and back and fort from the waves. It's a week of simple and pure entertainment by just being outside in the elements. Picture overload...
 Leaving our house Thursday evening. We like to split up the drive. It's 11 hours but we can't handle it all at once! Jeremy and I can't handle it. Maybe we could if we left early in the morning, but it never works out that way. The boys are fabulous roadtrippers. They've been going on road trip vacations since they were tiny. And now that two of them can read and we can watch movies in the van, they do really well for long hours on the road.
 Friday we were so excited once we spotted the ocean in Mobile, AL!
 It was around 4pm by the time we got settled into our condo, but the boys couldn't wait another second to put on their swim shorts and go splash in the ocean.
 We walked this boardwalk countless times during the week.
 Family selfie. Seriously...our happy place.
The boys played in the sand and ocean for a bit. Then we threw their clothes back on them to head into town for a quick, late dinner and a stop for groceries and supplies for the week. They sat in the van with Jeremy while I shopped alone. I returned to this scene. Flat worn out from all their travels.
The next morning after breakfast we headed straight out to the beach. The weather was beautiful.
 And these three boys had a ball. 
Do you see how the beautiful beach looks empty? Well it wasn't. But there was never much of a crowd. Just a little perk of traveling before summer truly begins.
Abe loved going in the ocean but was timid of the powerful waves. So he especially loved Jeremy or I holding him in the water.
A lady found a living starfish so each of the boys got to touch it and then we set it back free into the ocean.
 Fun at the pools.
Half of the nights we had simple dinners in the condo, like tacos and carrots. :)  And the other nights we went out for beloved seafood!
That's not all, but that is all for now. More vacation pictures to come...