Monday, July 22, 2013

Pensacola...Sun, Sand & Sea

Home from a blessed beach vacation... with only a few bumps along the way.

A few years ago, we began doing "Rose & Thorn" with Noah, as a way to get more than one word answers after asking, "How was your day?"  Each of us would share something good and something not-so-good from the day.  And being the glass half full family we try to be, there were many days with no real thorn to share.

In the same token, and at an attempt not to go on and on about our trip, I'm going to share the
SUN (good), SAND (not-so-good), and SEA (peaceful/best/goosebump) moments from Florida.

Saturday...the long ride down

Sun – our funny book on tape (the only way my hubby will read!) to pass the time

Sand – Eel in the tub, which to me is the same category as a snake.  Noah brought a baby one into the house in a red solo cup to show me.  Eeek!

Sea –#23s, Austin's number.  Oh, how many we saw on our trip.  #23 miles to go, exit #23, vehicles by us with #23.  All little Heaven-sent hello's from our guy.

It was late and we were tired upon arriving so Tina didn't get to see the actual ocean but she did spend time in the bayou behind our house (where the eel was found).  She was so cute, wanting to hug the palm trees, excited to be in Florida for the first time.

Sunday...our first full day

Sun – Tina and the ocean at last.  Her expression at seeing it from a distance, crossing the bridge, jumping in the ocean, tasting the salt, building a turtle in the sand, finding crabs and jellyfish.  So many firsts.  So sweet!

Sand – Angry Beach flash.  Yes, Pensacola, I have arrived.  The big beach, aptly nicknamed "Angry Beach" by our family, sucked me down, knocked me on my behind, and attempted to rip my top away from the girls.  It was not fun for anyone in the vicinity.  And I'm cringing at the thought that someone caught it on tape...soon to be on YouTube or AFV!

Sea – Rainbow!  Such a blessing to see a giant double rainbow over Quietwater beach as our families played in the water all afternoon.  It stayed for what seemed like forever and I couldn't help but feel it was a hug from our boy, sending memories of our last time there.  Thankful for the saltwater to cover up bittersweet tears.

Another cute memory was our spa night, once back at the house.  The girls pampered the mamaws (and me) with salt scrubs, manicures and massages.  Oh, the laughs!

Monday...rainy day fun

Sun – crab escape!  The mini marine zoo that was collected on our deck found their way back to the Bayou overnight.  While the girls were initially disappointed, a quick run to the dock led to them finding many of the little creatures again.  They happily scooped the stinky things back up and onto our wooden prison.

Sand – hot mall shopping.  Mix in my dislike of shopping with humid Florida air and learning that the huge outlet mall was all outdoors.  In the A/C to shop, back out in the heat, over and over again.  At least we did find some good deals!

Sea – Butterfly shell!  Aside from finding my now favorite beach (Johnson), Tina discovered this precious shell that looked just like a butterfly.  What a hug for my heart!, there and everywhere

Sun – Kids rule day.  A morning at the Naval Museum.  Slushies & Sonic.  Beach time.  And a night at the movies.  Whew!  But the kids had such fun.

Sand – Losing Mom & Tina in the museum.  Rule #42 don't leave without the group! 

Sea – Our own private beach.  Johnsons.  Literally half a dozen people other than us.  Resting in beach chairs with my momma.  Peaceful bliss.

Wednesday...just beachy

Sun – New experiences.  Both kids tried Hobie catting and kayaking.  Noah loved the kayak and would've paddled out to sea if we hadn't called him back.  Tina was a pro on the Hobie cat from the start.  Such fun watching them play.

Sand – Shark! Well, actually it wasn't really a low point, as it was pretty cool seeing real sharks swimming below us from the pier.  Kinda scary though seeing the people yards away on the beach and knowing my kiddos were swimming in the same waters!

Sea – Quietwater day.  We spent the whole day at the beach, minus a dolphin tour.  Had a great picnic of cold fried chicken and fish tacos, strolled the boardwalk, and the weather was picture perfect.  Great day!

Thursday...can you say T-I-R-E-D?

Sun – lazy pool day.  After a full day of surf & sun, we didn't want to do anything but eat and rest.  Thankful for the neighborhood pool, which was a cool retreat.  The kids played hot potato and the adults floated, read, sunned and napped.  Ahhh...

Sand – Not one, unless you count just being tired, but that's to be expected after so many days of go, go, go!

Sea –beach memories.  We ended our evening by showering and heading back to Johnson beach for some photos.  Lucky to have several talented photographers in our family and a stranger that snapped a group pic for us.  Precious mementos for years to come!

Friday...Final Goodbye

Sun – Oysters & Gumbo.  I have food rules when on vacation.  Never eat somewhere twice.  Never eat somewhere you have at home.  Avoid fast food.  We broke two of those rules, as kids dominated quick & easy choices on some days, but I was determined to try a few hole in the wall local recommendations.  Our last day we ate at the Oyster Barn and it was yum-o.  I could so go for a big bowl of gumbo right now!

Sand – afternoon in the ER.  After a beautiful drive through Ft. Pickens state park, we stopped to tour Fort Pickens, built over 200 years ago.  Uneven cobblestone and running down tunnels don't mix.  Moments into our tour we found Noah on the ground in severe pain.  Tears from a towering teen let us know this was no simple sprain.  Hours later and in a splint, we made it back to the house exhausted for our final night.  (Praying his MRI tomorrow shows a tiny ligament tear and not one requiring surgery.)  Not the souvenir we wanted to bring back!

Sea –bedtime prayers.  Tired bodies, drained, tear-stained faces. I gently eased myself to the bed where Tim and Noah snuggled.  Sweet boy that he is, he tried to apologize for "ruining our trip" so we ended our night with a family prayer, counting the many blessings from the vacation, not the minor bump from this day.

being silly

my baby hours before he got hurt


spelling "2013"


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