Sep 17, 2012

Our Much-too-short Beach Trip

Ok, so I promised more details about our vacation ... we had booked a full week at a condo in Navarre Beach, Florida, and were soooo excited. Before parenthood, Ben and I took several trips a year, but that's just not feasible these days. Which is fine, because family time at our awesome new house with our awesome little dude is the priority now.

So this year, we had put all our eggs into one big beach basket. And it was more than a little disappointing when Hurricane Isaac chased us away after two days! Yup. We faced a mandatory evacuation, though the teeny Gulf island was barely touched by Isaac in the end.

BUT ... those two days were glorious! We had sunshine and waves and seafood and perfect sunsets. Ben's parents joined us, and Max had so much fun with his "Gamma" and "Gampa." The condo owner we rented from via (Vacation Rentals by Owner - our favorite way to book lodging!) was incredibly kind about the whole ordeal, refunding the days we couldn't use and offering us a discount to come try again next summer. Which me might do. Navarre Beach was beautiful! And very mellow and somewhat undiscovered, which is something I like in a vacation destination :)

I took a photo of the trunk all packed up because I'm a nerd - and for some reason I really enjoy packing trunks. It's like a life-sized puzzle, and I'm pretty good at it. We managed to fit all of our clothes, beach toys, baby gear, dog gear and a boogie board and wagon.

As for the road trip itself, I'd been collecting goodies for Max for a couple weeks leading up to the eight-hour drive. I have fond memories of my mom always stocking her purse with a few small toys and coloring books when we traveled as kids. She would pull one thing out at a time, very carefully spaced for maximum entertainment value, and we were always so excited to see what she'd brought! One of the things that entertained Max for the longest was this interactive board book I snagged at a consignment sale.

And sweet Bosco took the other side of the backseat. He is such a road warrior.

We finally made it, and when we woke up the next morning, we bee-lined for the beach. Our condo overlooked the sound (the side of the island that faced inland), and we were about a five-minute walk to the "real" beach. (Hence the wagon, which worked great to transport Max and beach towels alike!) Max has been in a phase where he doesn't really like to get dirty, so he was skeptical of the sand. And in awe of the waves crashing in. For the first morning he mostly hung out on the beach towel while the rest of us tried to gently introduce him to the ocean and sand! (I guess he forgot how much he loved all this stuff last summer, which I blogged about here!)

Max started warming to the idea of sand when Grandpa showed him how to build castles...

Here's our balcony view of the sound. We sat out here every morning and evening and we definitely took advantage of that pool!

On our second morning, I was up early and took Bosco for a stroll on the beach of the sound, just steps outside of our condo.

On day two, Max got more comfortable with the sand, digging and playing with shells. If we'd been able to stay one more day, I'm sure he'd have fallen in love with the beach all over again!

When we found out we'd likely be evacuated, we decided to go out in style, and drove about 40 minutes to Destin, FL, for dinner at a charming little dockside seafood place. 

But first we watched as some of our neighbors (locals) in the condo building boarded up their windows in preparation for the storm. Later that night, they had what they called a "hurricane party." There were some serious shenanigans going on, with families and friends partying loudly on their balconies, and even shooting off fireworks from the dock! It was a sight to see!

And THEN, we put ourselves into a state of denial and had a blast for our last night.

Ben and I attempted (we really did try hard) to get a family portrait with the sunset and the ocean ... but some things are just not meant to be, especially when they involve a very wiggly 21-month-old and a precarious dock with no railings!

We evacuated by 8:30 the next morning, but don't worry - our vacation didn't end there. We managed to come up with another plan, since it would be such a shame to waste a full week that Ben had off of work. Stay tuned for more on that ... :)

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