Sigh......I'm missing the beach very badly, I'll admit. I wouldn't want to trade my freshly-cut hay pasture for wave upon wave permanently but there is just something about the ocean that I love. I truly adore the hot, hot sun and the white sand and rolling waves. And don't even get me started on the sea-shell spotting. It's definitely on my favorite list of places to be, along with our farm, Eureka Springs, and New York City.
Along with sharing the rest of our dreamy vacation photos I thought I'd share a look at the practical side of traveling almost 12 hours in the car with two toddlers.
Let me just start by saying how many hours and hours of work I put into this trip before we'd even left the driveway. This was intentional, NOT stressful as you may assume, and really paid off huge in the end. I planned for the drive, the actual trip, and the coming home afterwards.
For the drive I loaded up on things to keep the girls busy and entertained, while not just watching movies for 12 hours straight. We left at 3 in the morning and drove straight through. The first 4 hours were deemed "quiet" time, with only an audio book going (Little House on the Prairie to be exact). I drove the first few hours so Brett could catch some sleep. The next 8 hours were a good blur. We had lunch food already packed in the cooler and only stopped for bathroom breaks. The girls enjoyed finger puppets, geoboards, magnets on cookie sheets, color books, movies, audio books, and Melissa and Doug Water Wow paint pads. They loved these the most! They also really loved looking out the window at all the new sights, like the crop-duster planes and row after row of corn growing.
For the actual trip I bought/packed: mostly healthy snacks, juice boxes and water, spray sunscreen (a lifesaver!), beach buckets and shovels, wipes, two swimsuits for each girl, plenty of pony tail holders (a must for windy beach days), and beach chairs. We also bought a canopy to take with us that we'll also use for Mill St. Market for my art booth and for camping. A good purchase, indeed as the beach was extremely hot.
We stayed in a condo at Fort Morgan along with several other family members. The girls slept in the same room and did awesome together! (and yes, they sleep with a lamp on)
The last part of the trip I planned well was the coming home. I knew we'd be overrun with yard/garden/farm chores once our feet hit the driveway so I made sure to leave a very clean house and the laundry baskets empty. I also had plenty of groceries to last a few days. This helped the coming home so much! It felt so relaxing to get back home to a clean, quiet house.
Now here's the real reason I put all the planning into the trip! So we could be free and easy at the beach. And indeed, we were! This is a trip I'll always remember with such deep, wonderful memories....
(so many pictures on the last night.....and I just noticed Anna's face in this one, lol)
The view from our condo!! It was amazing morning, noon, and night.
My beautiful mom-in-law!
The happy cousins! They had so much fun together!
I could beach-comb for days.
The hearts always find me...
One of my favorite parts of the trip was sitting under my vintage quilt I brought from home, reading or napping or just being.
This is a much happier way to exercise than the treadmill!
We were all about the #selfie on this trip!
I tried my first gumbo,
and ate crab and shrimp!
From a practical standpoint because #momlife , this bathing suit top and athletic shorts were perfect for keeping up with three kiddos. Also my braids kept my crazy hair from getting too crazy. I'm definitely a no-makeup, suntan kinda gal.
We went to The Hangout in Gulf Shores for breakfast and evidently they have a huge, themed "Princess and Pirates" breakfast, complete with games and costumes.
It was surprising and over the top and fun.
We drove a different way from the rest of the family and just *happened* to pull up right behind them in the ferry line to Fort Morgan! So funny!
Oh yeah, and I also ate a huge amount of po-boys on the trip.
(take me back!!)
This was our version of fast-food on the way there! (and my foot, lol)
This beach vacation was wonderful. Together is truly my favorite place to be. The quiet sank in deep when I needed it most. The new sights and sounds were exactly what my soul was craving and there couldn't have been better company.
If at all possible, I encourage you to travel with your peeps! The reward is priceless.