I am listening to “Ocean Waves Crashing” on my iPhone app as I am typing this. I am such a beach baby. I blame my Meema and Mom for that. I spent a lot of time at the beach growing up, so now that’s what vacation feels and sounds like to me. Toes in the sand, waves crashing, beachy seafood restaurants. It’s my happy place. We have taken a trip to the beach at least once every two years since Noah was born. When we lived in middle TN, Noah and I would go down and spend fall breaks with Meema in Destin, FL. We look the twins on their first beach vacation at 13 months old to Dauphin Island, AL. Noah has always liked the beach– the ocean, the waves, the sand, swimming. The twins have grown to enjoy the beach a little more each time that we have taken them. This trip, the twins loved all aspects of the beach.
We planned this trip months in advance for a very special reason– this is the first time since we moved from middle TN in 2011 that we had the same Spring Break as my sister-in-law Amy’s school system. (Amy teaches first grade and Tommy’s mom watches teacher’s kids in her home, so they follow the same school/work schedule.) Our NC school system and Amy’s TN school system having the same week of vacation meant that everyone had the same week off and we could actually take a trip TOGETHER for the first time. We knew that we wanted to travel far enough into FL to have nice, warm weather at the end of March and also be close enough for Tommy’s grandparents, who live in FL 6+ months out of the year, to visit. We found the condo in Indian Shores through AirBnB and worked out all the details. By Christmas, we were counting down the days!
Tommy, the twins and I used credit card points to buy our flights to FL. We had a nonstop flight to Tampa on Saturday and a short layover flight on the return home. Amy and Tenley also flew to Tampa. Marcia and Jerry drove down with a van FILLED with pack-n-plays (for all 3 littles,) suitcases (including Amy and Tenley’s,) sand toys, food, etc. and they only arrived about 30 minutes after we did due to fly delays and car rental issues! First, our flight leaving NC was delayed for almost 2 hours then the car rental place did not have a van for us and had to send Tommy to a different rental company via an Uber because they could not help us. Despite a lack of food and napping, the kids were troopers through all the delays. We rented car seats in Tampa (a great idea, but I will not use that company again.) Amy, the kids and I waited almost two hours in the parking lot of Payless Rental before Tommy came back to pick us up in our mediocre minivan! Oh well, we were finally beach bound!
Our condo was amazing with spectacular views. There was a heated pool on the property too, which the twins loved. It was “beach, pool, room” on repeat for days– play at the beach, build a sand castle or collect shells, swim in the pool, take a nap (for the littles) then back to the beach, then back in the pool. We ate out 3 nights during our trip, but we also made trips to Winn-Dixie for food, so we could eat most of our meals at the condo. Britt, Amy’s husband, drove down early Monday morning to join our fun.
Even though it’s been months since the twins jumped into a pool, it only took them a few minutes before they jumped right in to water over their heads. (Thank goodness for Puddle Jumpers, they just pop right back up!) Tenley liked the pool too, especially with her Mommy. She’s also quite the fashionista and had a different swimsuit for each day, as well as several matching swim hats.
Eli enjoyed being buried in the sand. Emry Jane tolerated her feet being buried, but she did not want the full-immersion treatment like Eli! Tenley took some good naps by the ocean, as long as she was sleeping on or near her mama.
The grandparents stayed in the condo with the napping ones while the four of us big kids would lay by the pool or on the beach each day. I loved that two hours of sunshine with my book every day. It’s probably what I miss the most! We did offer to switch with Marcia and Jerry, so that they could have some afternoon time in the sun, but they preferred morning or evening walks on the beach.
This was such a relaxing vacation, probably the most relaxing we have had with the kids to date. They woke up around 7-8 am, lunch around noon and then a 2-hour nap. Beach and pool time until dinner. Bedtime around 8 pm and then do it again the next day. The kids were great when we went out to eat too, especially on the Wednesday night of our trip when we waited an HOUR and FIFTEEN MINUTES to be seated. I had to unleash the Mama Bear a little for that one. The twins and Tenley got mac and cheese to eat while we were waiting. Tommy’s grandparents came to spend the day with us on Wednesday too. We rented a cabana that day, so that they wouldn’t get too much sun.
Amy and I had been talking about doing some “Mommy and Me” photo shoots for each other for a few months. I do not have the photos of Amy and Tenley together because they are taken with Amy’s camera, but several of them turned out really great! Below are a couple of favorites of mine with Emry Jane 🙂
Eli wanted to take photos with the girls, so Tommy brought him down at the end of our photo shoot. This is my absolute favorite picture of the twins from our beach trip.
On the last night of our trip, we took family pictures on the beach. It took bribery and asking strangers to take our group picture, but I am glad that we have these photos along with the memories of our great trip together!
Marcia and Jerry have never taken a beach vacation where they did not stay with family or go for Tommy or Amy’s sporting event. I am so glad that we got them to come spend a relaxing week with us! They are already talking about going back! 🙂
Until next time, Indian Shores. I hope to see you again soon…