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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

St Augustine Old Town!

One of my favorite trips every year is our family trip to St. Augustine. Even before we had kids Zach and I would visit St. Augustine for the 4th of July. I remember when I first suggested that we make it a yearly "our family only" trip and how Zach did not like the idea haha but now it really is one of his favorite things too! 

When we decided to start trying to conceive Leo we actually talked about this trip a good bit. We debated waiting a month to try to conceive so Leo would be due in late August rather than the first of August and we'd be able to go for the 4th still. However, the pros for having the baby due in early August won out and we decided to move the trip early for the first time ever!

Usually every year Zach and I go away over Memorial Day for our anniversary trip. Seeing that I would be 36 weeks pregnant on the 4th of July we knew we had to change the dates for our family beach trip and decided that it made the most sense to skip an anniversary trip this year (especially since we were spending so much to go to Ireland!) and instead move the family beach trip to that weekend. 

It really worked out great! Although I'm super bummed we are missing out on the fireworks and dinner with Katie's family on the 4th, we are already making our plans for next year and will go back to the 4th of July tradition then!!!

Prior to the trip we got our dvd system all installed in the van. I know it seems crazy but dvds on road trips are a must for us. Since we do extended rear facing with our car seats it's tricky to have a way for the rear facing kid to watch movies. In the past we've had a little portable one we hook up but it means I have to climb back (and OVER the rear facing seat) to change out the movies. Not safe...and near impossible when pregnant. Plus since we'll be adding more rear facing kids soon...it will get trickier. We debated and debated about how we wanted our dvds in the van to work and this is what we now have. We have the factory installed drop down regular dvd player. Kye is forward facing so he watches that with headphones. We installed portable dvd players on the headrests of the two second row seats. These screens can be swiveled to either face the third row (forward facing) or the second row (rear facing). They are hooked up where we can change out the dvds from the front seat! And they can be listened to either through the speaker system (for the child too young for head phones) or with headphones. This trip was our first test of them and it went well! A few glitches we had to get adjusted but overall we love the system!

First time wearing head phones!
I love love love Inn at Camanchee Harbor. We've stayed there for the past several years and it really is a place we cherish. We did decide that this trip would be our last staying there :( We are all bummed about it but we stayed in the biggest unit they have and there is just no way we can fit another kid in there!!! I'm already in the process of hunting down a new place for next year :)

The people who work there are SUPER sweet and have let us check in early the past couple of years. We left first thing in the morning and got there just in time for lunch!

Like I said, we stayed in their largest unit available and it had one bedroom with two beds, a large closet, one bathroom, and the kitchen/eating/living area. Zach and I slept in one of the beds, Kye slept in the other, and Britt slept in the closet :) It worked out fine! However, Zach is a MEGA light sleeper and he just has a hard time sleeping so close to our kids. If we tried to all fit there next year it'd mean both Kye and Britt would have to be in that room with us and the baby would have to be in the closet and that's all just too tight! We have reached a point where we just have to have legit two bedrooms minimum :) We can put Kye and Britt in the same room and then us and the baby in the other :)

Gotta have the hotel bed pic!

We decided to go ahead and do our Old Town visit that afternoon. We always like to eat our pizza night early in the trip so we can have the leftovers! We are used to the St Augustine crowds over the 4th and Memorial Day weekend wasn't much different. Pretty crowded! We couldn't find parking so Zach dropped the kids and I off and we checked out the cannon while we waited :)
I am a sucker for traditions I love that we get pics at this same cannon every year :) Here is 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and even 2009! I can't wait to have ANOTHER baby in the picture next year!!! 



I went ahead and took pics of the kids on the cannon while we waited for Daddy. Then we explored the little park area. Kye is at SUCH a wonderful age. He was SO interested in learning about everything and asked a ton of questions and Zach and I both had such a fun afternoon talking about history and learning things together with him. It's great that he is so interested in things like that! He wanted to know all about the cannon and was truly excited about it this year :) They have updated the park some and had some footprints put in the sidewalk which made for a great game while we waited!

Zach wore an old school St Augustine hat. I kept joking that I looked like a 12 year old giant had knocked me up haha


Full length shot....hate that you guys see my UGLY shoes but foot comfort must come first when there is a lot of walking involved!
Kye was SO interested in everything that we decided to take a walk as a family over to the fort. I mean was it over doing it? YES. Do I regret it? Heck no. We actually decided to only bring the single stroller for this trip. And of course the time we decide to do that is the time when we decide to do the most walking we've ever done in Old Town haha. Poor Kye! He was worn out! But it was worth it and we all enjoyed the beautiful view of the boats and the awesome knowledge about the fort. Both kids had a great time and it was just so neat to see Kye so absorbed in learning :)

Resting our feet for a few minutes :)

Checking out the fort (no, we didn't pay to do the inside tour...)






I really love that Zach takes the time to show our kids things and explain things to them. He is such a great Daddy!

And we even lucked out and saw a firetruck :)
After all the walking we were hungry and ready to eat! We stopped in a shop to find a Christmas ornament for this year's trip and checked out a cool pirate shop then headed for pizza. Usually we stop and watch the magic show for awhile but they didn't have a show starting when we were walking by and we didn't want to wait. We were hot. Tired. And HUNGRY!!! 

I have been asked a lot about recommendations for St Augustine. Honestly, we don't eat out much while on this trip. I LOVE St Augustine but, from what I've found, it's not really a town meant for families with small kids. I think it'll be awesome once all our kids our grown. There are a lot of "adult" restaurants and entertainment choices (hello...ghost tours WILL be happening!) but there isn't a ton of options to please the little kids. The only place I can really recommend if you have a family and are traveling there is Pizzalleys. Best pizza EVER!!!

Both kids were in awesome moods and so fun! I know kids can't be expected to be joyful all the time but, boy, life sure is much happier when they are! I think it's adorable that Britt insists on sitting with Kye now whenever we eat out. Zach and I finally get to sit together and they do awesome sitting beside each other! 

I also love that Kye is old enough to enjoy kids menus. I have so much less stuff to bring with me when we eat out b/c the kids don't require stuff to entertain them with. Kye is content with whatever kids meal coloring page they have and Britt just copies him so she's good to go too :) 
Child was chanting and cheering for some pizza and bread!

Yay for actually getting to ENJOY a meal together!!!
While we were waiting on our food the POWER went OUT! It was a scary moment b/c I was thinking "ok so the kids have been promised pizza...we have to find pizza..." haha. Thankfully it came back on but can you imagine owning a restaurant and the power going out on the Friday of such a major holiday weekend?!?! I'm sure the staff was freaking out!!!
I love this dress from Zulily!
We all made sure not to fill up too much on pizza because we had to get our ice cream fix! Last year we have such great memories of Britt being SO EXCITED about the choo choo in the ice cream shop. She still liked it this year, but wasn't nearly as crunk about it as she was last year :) We let the kids pick their own ice cream flavors and next year we will be doing it differently. First off, Kilwins ain't cheap. Secondly, Britt didn't care at all about her own ice cream and wanted all of ours the whole time. Third, Zach and I did NOT need all the ice cream we had haha. We def can divide it up and share next year :) 

Kye remembered his "superman" ice cream last year and wanted it again this year! 
Britt wanted pink ice cream :)
Duh, Daddy got that chocolate fix!
And I think I got cookies and cream?
I love seeing Zach be so sweet with our babies :)

Doing some ice cream dances (or flash dancing...) after she was done!



I love just relaxing and not being in a hurry. We had plenty of time so we just sat! We enjoyed our treats and then enjoyed people watching and letting the kids play in the area where we were sitting. It was a beautiful evening and they had fun seeing all the people go by and running back and forth between Zach and I on a couple benches. It got their sugar rushes worn off quick ;)




We had SUCH a great start to our trip! I did way, way, way do too much and paid for it that night (I had mega bad swelling!) but the memories made were well worth it! I know our kids our still young but they are old enough to be pretty EASY now and it's so great. We can just ENJOY them more than we have to be parenting them. They are pretty go with the flow, very obedient, and super fun :) I know having another baby changes that up for awhile so we took full advantage of the easiness of their ages on this trip. I'm so glad we did things like walking to the fort because that's something we won't do for sure with an infant next year!!! I tried to soak in the stuff that is easy now and won't be so easy later ;)

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