Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vacation: Take Three

Ok, in the last 24 hours I have written two full blog posts and mentally composed several more, but I ultimately determined that each of these posts was sub-par, and I haven't published any of them.

I just got home from a vacation with my family.  I have a billion pictures to possibly share.  God has been at work, and there's lots I could write on that subject.  My larger family unit reached a life-changing bend in the road last week.  I have lots to share and just can't quite get happy with how to organize my thoughts.

I can't let my perfectionism win here.

So here's what we're going to do.  I'm going to lay out the facts.  Then we're all going to pretend that it was cleverly written.  And that I included entertaining stories and anecdotes.  And that I chose great photographs to show you.  Agreed?  Great.

Here we go.

We spent 8 days in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  We flew with three small children, including changing planes in Dallas, and we all survived.  So did the other passengers.

We did all sorts of family activities that would normally be too overwhelming or scary for me, but I pushed myself for the sake of family fun.

We went to the beach, swam in the pool (with obnoxious teenagers and two bratty children who kept taking my kids' toys), played miniature golf, rode a bunch of kiddie rides, went to an arcade, rode a giant ferris wheel as a family, went to Build-A-Bear for the first time (and it was awesome!), tried different ice cream joints in the evenings, bought overpriced souvenirs, and ate at tons of new restaurants.

We all got sunburned one day.  It's a requirement of any vacation we take.  At least it was close to the end of our trip, and we were able to do non-swimming activities the next day so everyone could heal.

Jared and I found a new show we're addicted to watching after the kids are in bed.  It's on Netflix, and it's called "Lie to Me."  It's fascinating and entertaining, and I enjoy it like I used to enjoy CSI before it got too gory and edgy and I had to stop watching it.

We stayed on the 13th floor of our condo.  Even though I had had nightmares (literally) about horrible things happening that high off the ground, it really didn't bother us once we were there.  And, no, we are not superstitious about staying on the 13th floor.

I ate tons of junk food and fried food.  I gained back a few of those pounds I worked so hard to lose.  Weight goes on so much easier--and faster--than it comes off!

I read "The Rescue" by Nicholas Sparks, and I loved it.

We rented the nicest minivan ever.  I believe it was a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country.  It had leather seats, automatic doors, a back-up camera, basically a computer in the dashboard, more cargo space in the back than I thought possible, and the individual seats in the middle could fold up and hide completely in the floor so the boys could climb right to the back seat and we had storage space too.  We were in love.  Unfortunately, we will NEVER be able to afford one for ourselves.  It still enhanced the vacation experience!

We also enjoyed luxuries like having two bathrooms in the condo.

The kids watched "The Lorax" every day.  Before bed, they read the book "The Lorax."

We checked 5 suitcases and 3 car seats at the airport, and all items landed safely at our destination without any problems.  Same story on the way home.

We went crab hunting at night on the beach.  We didn't see one single crab.  Ever.  That was disappointing for the kids because they each had their own net and their own special head lamps/flashlights and were super excited for crab hunting.

Griffin made a friend.  It was a breakthrough for him and a very proud moment as his mom.  It was a little girl named Addison, and Griffin told me, "She's four like me."  They swam in the pool together, and Griffin made sure she followed the rules that her "Granny" laid out for her.  It was so cute!

I shot a hole-in-one at a volcano-shaped hole while playing mini golf.  I'm usually fairly terrible at it.  Jared and I actually tied, which is huge for me since he's good at mini golf.

On our last day at the beach, we paid the ridiculous fee to rent two beach chairs and an umbrella (all set up by the young beach attendant).  We felt like celebrities in our comfy, shaded spot.  Plus my pink skin needed a break from the sun.

Now that we're back home, we have to get ready for school starting next week.  Nolan starts first grade on Thursday.  He didn't get the teacher he wanted, and none of his friends from last year are in his class.  Luckily, there's a girl in his first grade class who was in his preschool class.  Even though she's a girl (you know how they are at this age), he's happy to have a friendly face.

And now, I'm going to show you some of the many, many pictures I took on vacation.  I'm not even going to put captions on any of them.  It'll be more fun that way. 

Doesn't that look like good old-fashioned family fun?



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