September 29, 2007

Our Family Vacation

We are finally settled after being gone for a week. I think vacation is a lot of work! (Actually, I've also been readying our house to get it back on the market. I enjoyed our three week break- because of a burst pipe in our basement- entirely too much, and now it's time to get it back in shape again.)

We went to Destin...officially Santa Rosa, I suppose. We stayed at Topsail Hill State Park with our friends in their camper. We had a great time! It was a bit cramped in the camper, as we felt like our kids were constantly in the way, but our friends were incredibly gracious and seemed to be fine.

Our gracious hosts, Pam & Eddie

This beach was absolutely incredible! Topsail Hill has three miles of private beach, and since it's a preserve, there are no buildings. (I never realized how much the buildings detract from the setting.) So it was the dunes, sand, and water. Oh! It was absolutely beautiful! I felt like we were on our own private island. The beach was virtually empty all the time.

The one time we went down at the busiest there were a total of 12 people in sight, and 6 of them were our party! The water was clear (I could see my feet clearly at 2 feet deep) and sea grass free, the sand was beautifully clean and soft, and the sky was enormous. It couldn't have been more beautiful.

See what I mean?

Apparently the winds were blowing in the wrong direction, so we had biting dog flies to contend with. That was a major bummer that drove us off the beach several times. The kids and I just started staying covered up if we were out of the water and the flies were out. It was cool enough that this worked out okay. Actually, this time the kids enjoyed the sand more than the water...completely different than in St. Pete Beach a month ago! (Maybe the 15 degree temperature difference explains that!)

That girl loves her paci and blanket!

Jacob enjoying his sandbox.

This campground has tons of space for bike riding, and we spent many hours doing that, Jacob and Robert especially! Jacob would wear out several adults and be asking for more! We have fulfilled our entire first grade year of PE, that's for sure!

Jacob waiting by the curb for a grownup to ride with him...again. (He and Robert had just come in from a long ride.)

Robert had a couple of great fishing days about 100 yards out in the gulf. One day he saw a long gray shadow that seemed to be a shark, so he came in. The next day, this long gray shadow started coming directly in his direction. Not so good... Thankfully, at the same time a Coast Guard helicopter on patrol saw it as well (okay, kinda scary!) and started circling and finally hovering low enough to scare the shark off. Wasn't that nice of him? The third day (uh, yes, he went back out, much to my chagrin) he managed to avoid the shark.

Mattie enjoying the sand.

One of our other favorite things was searching for sand crabs after dark. We'd go down as the sun was setting and look for them for awhile. It was beautiful walking on the beach by the moonlight! (Would've even been romantic if the kids weren't there!) Robert was quite brave and caught several of them. I was the only weenie who kept shoes on to be sure I didn't step on one by accident, much less catch one on purpose! Anyway, the kids both loved chasing them! Mattie would squeal and squeal as she found one and ran it off.

I love it when little ones crouch down like this to look at something! She spotted a crab!

Jacob on his crab mission.

And Robert with one of his catches.

After looking we'd ride bikes back to our campsite (a mile or so) in the moonlight. This was a beautifully peaceful way to end our evenings, and a great review of the moon phases!

My handsome boy, getting waaaaay too big in so many ways!

On the way home we stopped overnight in Pensacola to visit Robert's grandparents. They really enjoyed the kids, and we got a night out to dinner without the children! (Their maid watched the kids so we could go out without them. Ahhhh!) They treated us to a local high-end restaurant where we sat at a table once enjoyed by (the first) President Bush and his wife. While we were there we stayed in Robert's mom's childhood bedroom and Mattie slept in her crib! That's kind of neat, I think.

All in all, we had a great trip. Robert enjoyed it more than any other trip we've taken, I believe. That's worth a lot since it's his vacation, after all!


Kjirstin C said...

Looks like you had a great time!! Great pictures too, they are getting so big so fast!!

Anonymous said...

Yay - pictures! I love seeing your pictures of the beach! Sounds like Jacob had the best time of all! :) I'm glad you guys got some good time together!


Valerie said...

I loved looking at your pictures! The place you went to sounds wonderful! Well all except the sand crabs. I would have been too freaked out to even walk around at night!

Nana said...

Beautiful scenery and beautiful family. I love the sunset picture! wow! can't beat that. Glad you all had a good time!

Christy said...

What precious pictures, but I especially love the last one of all of you. That would be great to use in Christmas cards!

Matt said...

WOW! Beautiful! And it looks (and reads) like it was a great trip. Your kids are so cute and getting so big. Will you tell Pam and Eddie that I said hi. Oh, and will you give me their e-mail address? Have a great day! GREAT vacation.

Dan and Marcy said...

Thanks for sharing - I'm so glad you all had such a great time! Hugs all around.