Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Extended Celebration

The view from our beach condo

Yes, we are still alive.

We had planned to update the blog occasionally while we were on vacation, but one of the many mishaps of that week was that we discovered on night one that we didn't have the power cord to charge the laptop battery. Plus, the condo didn't really have dependable internet access anyway.

We had a super fun time on our St. Augustine Beach vacation. I'm going to lay it all out for you, so this might get a little long...

We packed up Tuesday and met Ryan and Steve for lunch so the boys could catch up. They really need a guys' weekend. They never ever have enough time to talk about all the dude stuff they discuss. They are worse than women to get separated. It was a lovely time and the kids had fun running around Five Guys. No cup explosions this time.

After some final (yeah right) shopping and prepping, we finally got to our condo around 6ish.

It was a very nice, new building and our unit seemed pretty sweet. It had a big balcony with a "peekaboo" view of the ocean, and everything we'd need in the kitchen except food. But before long we discovered the A/C was leaking water out of the closet and onto the carpet. We used a bunch of towels all week keeping up with that.

We took a walk through the neighborhood to the community boardwalk, winding around the condo buildings and a couple of pools, to the beach. We decided that no matter what else happened on this trip, it was all worth that beach walk. The breeze was perfect, the sunset was gorgeous, the dunes were romantic, and the kids were hilarious.

The kids were all up way too late and it was a big day, so we were looking forward to sleeping in. So funny. The boys greeted us a little before 7 am, looking at the clock and announcing: "It's six time, time to wake up!" No idea where that one came from. Baby Bear thought it was a good idea too.

Wednesday was super fun. Also super hot. We went to the Alligator Farm, which was a big hit for the boys, as expected. They loved the alligators, turtles, snakes and birds. They fed the baby alligators and explored the gift shop. We were there just a little too long. On our way out, Brandon was showing Bubby the albino alligators again. "Bubby, you see that white alligator?" "No, no more alligators!"

And it got a little hairy in the gift shop. They were so ADD with the toys that we had a hard time figuring out which one to buy. Next time we'll make an executive decision much quicker. Popo had a meltdown so he and I ducked out while Daddy made our purchase. They love the rubber alligator and spinning egg-gator thingy they got.

We all settled down for naps after that outing - yes, we were all five sleeping, believe it or not. But this time of bliss was abruptly halted when the ear-piercing fire alarm went off in our condo unit and the entire building. So we headed outside. It was extremely hot outside, we were barefoot, and grumpy from deep naps. Over five minutes later, the fire truck showed up. The firemen were so disappointed that it was a false alarm that they grumpily, slowly, shlumped themselves down to the control room. So for about twenty minutes we all huddled in the sun, grumbling against St. John's County servicemen.

After we recovered from our super-funk, we headed out to the World Famous Oasis Restaurant for dinner. As was the trend for this week, Baby Bear was sleepy fussy, so one adult was feeding or walking her throughout the meal. It was a good time, though.

That night we ran out of memory on the camera. Without a computer to upload to, we were stuck. So we went to Target again to pick up a memory card. Ours was super tiny anyway, only 128mb, so we were due for an upgrade. It turns out our camera is too old to handle anything bigger than a 2gb card. We bought a 4gb card. Yeah.

Thursday morning we set out to catch the Matanzas Bay boat tour. We had to run by Target (for the third time) for another memory card for the camera, so we decided to go straight to the public parking garage rather than look for a closer spot, since we were running pretty late. We hoofed all three kids all the way across hot, muggy downtown St. Augustine in about 12 minutes, passing dozens of prime spots on the way. We really didn't make it in time, but the nice lady at the booth had them hold the boat.

We were so glad we made it. It was a gorgeous, breezy ride. The boys loved the first 45 minutes or so, then got a little bored. They entertained themselves by climbing on and around Daddy. Baby Bear ate her lunch and then just watched her brothers.

After the boat ride, we all ate macncheese and apples on our patio. The boys enjoyed the novelty of it and they got a kick out of watching the people in the pool. The rainy breeze was so relaxing and sweet.

Then the boys all took naps at the condo while Baby Bear and I drove into town for her 6-month well visit at the pediatrician. Yeah, that's right, we planned a whole vacation around that appointment, totally forgetting about it. It worked out fine though; she got a nap and the drive was pretty smooth. She's in good health and growing just about right. I got some advice on timing her feedings and naps a little better because she's been in an adjustment period lately, getting fussier much earlier in the evening. Praise God, it was actually a transition time to an earlier bedtime! She was asleep at 8 pm all this week!

That night we ate Taco Pie (yum!) while we waited and prayed for the water to come back on in our building. It cut off in the afternoon until early evening. That was depressing. The owner of the condo offered to let us shower in a spare house he had for sale, but thankfully, the water came back on just in time.

The boys spent 90% of their time in the condo working on their jigsaw puzzles. They are obsessed. We are going to get them some more for their birthdays. (Gift idea, wink wink!)

Friday morning started similarly to the previous two days, bright and early. We packed up and headed to the St. Augustine Beach pier. There is an awesome splash pad there for the kids to run around in, with a sand-pit playground attached to it. We got there before the crowds. The boys were so funny as they tried it out and got used to it. Believe it or not, Popo was the one that fell in love with the water jets and was exploring them forever. Bubby never did quite get comfortable with them. We are so psyched that we found this spot.

Then we walked down the steps to the actual beach and hung out for a little bit. The boys are dealing with a pretty drastic fear of going in the ocean anymore. Bubby actually stands there and sobs in fear if anyone in his family goes out into the ocean for more than a minute. He thinks they aren't coming back or something. So they played in the sand and on the rocks a little.

Popo was immediately enthralled by the concept

Bubby was a little more interested in the playground

What joy!
This is as brave as Bubby got for a little while, but he did grow more confident
Consulting about heading down to the beach

Friday night at bedtime

Saturday, after a yummy breakfast out on the patio at the Oasis, we headed home. Oh, and after we got across town, remembered we forgot to return our Blockbuster rentals (Coraline for us, Madagascar II for the kids), drove back and returned them, I fed Baby Bear, and turned back around. She fussed during breakfast, but passed right out in my arms. She really konked out.

We had such a great week celebrating Daddy's return and enjoying each other. God has blessed us so richly and beyond anything we could ever deserve. I have so many more great pictures from this trip but I'll just have to post more later.

Brandon's favorite quote of the week... Me: "I'm so glad we aren't staying in a hotel. This is so awesome, I made dinner, I just loaded the dishwasher, and I have a load of laundry going! Oh wait, everything I just said is work..."


  1. What a great family picture!!! Alana, you look beautiful! That hairstyle really suits you!

  2. I am so jealous of your vacation and spending such quality time with each other. Can't wait to see those kids.

  3. The pic with the kids going to the beach looks pretty cool.

    Like it is all black and white except the boys.

    Or maybe the color on my monitor is bad.

    Still good though...