Last year we extended our yearly St Augustine trip and stayed a full week. We. Loved. It. So we decided to do the same thing again this year. We have been SO BLESSED to be able to use a friend's family's condo. Not only has it made it more affordable for us, but it's THE PERFECT place for our family. We were SO pumped to go this year because we knew the place we were staying accommodated us so well and we knew it'd be an amazing week. Spoiler alert: it didn't disappoint :)
This year things were a tad different because we scheduled our family photo session with Lindsay for the day we arrived. It was either the day we arrived or the day we left and I knew we'd be better off on arrival day rather than departure day (which proved to be SO TRUE b/c we had several minor injuries during the week that would have made for less than cute pics haha). The drive down was a tad stressful because the weather looked AWFUL. I was worried that we'd end up not being able to take the pics. Our drive took an hour longer than usual due to traffic but it worked out to be a blessing in disguise. The longer drive allowed Tess to take a fuller nap in the car AND it allowed the rain to pass over. By the time we arrived the rain had stopped so unloading the car was easier and our photos ended up PERFECT (post to come!).
On the way down we decided to try covering Tess with a sheet to hopefully help her sleep better for nap but we realized that we are better off without it. It may not be as dark without it, but she has slept better on car rides prior to us trying it out! At least we know for next trip!
We took our timmmmme unloading the car. My concern going into this trip was one thing: Zach's back. Post surgery ain't no joke and I didn't want him to push himself or overdo it or risk hurting himself. We packed strategically with this in mind. In the past we'd cram as much as we could in larger bags but this time we used several smaller bags to make it easier to carry. The kids were all such big helpers and Zach just took it slow and easy and got it done. We fed them dinner and got ready for the pics! It all worked out pretty well, Zach said the photos the same day as arrival were too stressful but I felt like it wasn't all that stressful at all!
After pics were done I got the kids to bed while Zach did grocery shopping for the week and I was also able to take some time to work on home study stuff :)
I had starved myself all day for the pics (gotta feel skinny right?) so I was DYING to GRUB. Zach didn't get back till close to 10 but OMG he brought the most AMAZING Mexican food with him. If you go to St Augustine beach you MUST get Burrito Works. We LOVED IT and had it TWICE on the trip! Gah I'm craving it right now!
Zach got a lime drink in honor of Austin as they used to love drinking them together :)
The big kids LOVE sharing a room on vaca!
Although it didn't stop Kye from being a book worm ;)
Tess is at that age where she's into their stuff and wants to be "part of" everything the big kids do. It's rough because she does make a mess of things they have set up and she does pitch a fit when she doesn't get her way. It made things a little trickier when we had downtime in the room. But next year she'll be better able to share and understand and play better with them...if we are able to stay at this same condo and if we have a baby by then she may just have to share their room with them too!
Morning 1: BEACH TIME!!!
A toddler at the beach along with two other kids makes things pretty hectic. This phase of life won't be over for a good bit of time for us and the reality is that beach days just aren't really relaxing as parents with young kids! I think it makes Zach and I both savor the times we do get with "just us" at the beach but we also enjoy the craziness of our little family enjoying beach time together. There is a lot less picture taking because there is a lot more child chasing! It's truly a divide and conquer situation. We NEVER assume that the other has his/her eyes on a child. We make sure we're constantly communicating to who has who at all times!
One of the cutest things at the beach this trip was how Tess would go get the boogy board and pull it out to the ocean. She liked to ride it like the big kids but she also just really wanted to PULL US on it. It was so cute!!!
Typically before any trip Zach and I sit and pre-plan our agenda. Down to where we will eat, what we will do, etc. We actually write it all out and block off sections of time for activities and such. Sure, plans change but usually having an itinerary makes things just run smoother during vacations. We cannot STAND wasting time and spending time deciding what to do when while on vaca is just a time killer! One thing we didn't plan for was some "date time" for just Kye and I and it was something I really wanted to take advantage of. He's ALL about Daddy time, especially when it comes to activities. Looking at our agenda for the week I talked to Zach about just taking an hour during naps and running to get some ice cream with Kye just us. It was a great way to kick off the week. He got a special treat and I got some of that quality Kye time I don't often get!
Kye LOVES to take pictures so I let him take control of my camera and do his own photo shoot. He was in his element. I def plan to get him a legit camera for Christmas as I see the joy he has in photo taking and I'd love to foster that! I'm thankful my dad always took lots of pics because that carried over to my love of photos and I'd love for my enjoyment of them to carry over to Kye too!
99% of the pics he took look like this:
But then he also took about a billion of just me. Which was ironic b/c I had just been working on the adoption photo book pics and had the realization that I had SO FEW photos of me solo. If I'd known we were gonna have a photo shoot I would have put actual clothes on haha
Even just an hour of quality time makes my heart so happy!
Super random but during naps that day I found this and can't help but to include it here because I do love it so much! I have this slight love of Disney World and am a member of several Disney related groups on Facebook. I don't comment a lot or anything but I enjoy learning from others about the parks and seeing pics. This older couple visits Disney all the time and they always dress in theme and do THE most adorable stuff together. Omg they are totally my GOAL COUPLE. I mean they went to Tony's (which is a Lady and the Tramp themed restaurant at Disney) and took this pic. I can't even!!!
After naps we headed over to play putt-putt! It's an annual tradition that started WAY back when Kye was super little. I mean this was 6 years ago!!! We've continued it every year. When Kye was little we'd only play part of the course but as he's gotten older we always play 18. I don't think I've EVER actually gotten to play any of the years we've gone. I'm always chasing the youngest (or, when it was Britt, trying to stop her from crying). It's still something I look forward to every year and this year was one of the best yet. Britt LOVED it which was SO FUN for us all. She actually played all 18 holes too and gave the boys a run for their money. Tess even did well majority of the time. With Kye and Britt (and Zach too of course) legit playing it took a lot longer than normal so I wasn't surprised that she melted down before we finished.
When we first pulled up it was raining. We waited for it to pass!
Clearly the idea of putt-putt in the rain does not make Britt happy!
Gah I LOVE Tess's GRIN whenever she hits the ball!!!
My favorite things about the putt-putt were Britt's excitement and true enjoyment of the game, Tess's crunkness about hunting for animals and how Kye would crouch down to line up all of his shots. Zach Jr ;)
Par was 3 on most holes and on many of them Kye made it under par!
Tess was HILARIOUS. She was running around pointing and saying in a deep voice "ANNNNIMMALLLL" We kept on the look out for every and any animal we could find. She's excellent at finding even the smallest, most hidden animals!
Family pic inside the pirate ship!
Of course Zach always wows us with his putt-putt talents ;)
But my favs are when Zach gets so excited about the kids' achievements!!!
Little birdie golfer ;)
Tess had her well deserving boredom/heat fit at about the 14th hole. Which was a record for a toddler with us at putt-putt. I'm pretty sure by the 9th hole when Britt was a toddler that I'd probably already gone to the car. The difference with a third kid is that I don't care AT ALL about the fits. I'm seriously just like "whatever." Cry, carry-on all you want. If I know you are FINE then I'm not going to stress it. Tess lays down when she pitches a fit and isn't overly loud about it so it's pretty easy to ignore. She cried and was upset and I watched a bit and then moved down away from her some. I could see her just fine but I wanted to "ignore the fit" as, often, if you ignore them they quit.
This is how far away I was from her. She realized I'd "left" and got up. I thought "oh good, she's done" but instead she walked over to me, laid down on the ground beside me and then started pitching the fit again. I mean I was DYING laughing haha
We had a BLAST! So glad the rain quit and the crowds stayed away :)
Back at the room we had taco night!
I mentioned in an earlier post that Britt lost treat privileges for 2 weeks during our Parker family trip. The treats wouldn't be allowed to be eaten until Friday of our beach trip. Which was the day before we left! I had a hard time with it as a mom. Because on the one hand I didn't want the other kids to miss out on typical vacation treats just because Britt had lost the privilege to have them but I also felt guilty rubbing it in her face. I reminded myself that the reason for the privilege being taken away was for her to learn a lesson and she couldn't learn that if she didn't have the consequence of missing out. So I did my best to still give the other kids treats when I'd normally give them treats. I had bought several treats at Target prior to Britt's poor choices so I still brought them along and still gave them out as I normally would. I was VERY proud of how everyone handled it all week. The other kids didn't brag about it or make her feel badly and Britt didn't get overly upset or pitch a fit or anything. She knew the reasons behind the discipline and she understood that she would get treats again on Friday. She was counting down for sure!
Bedtime craziness ;)
Y'all. I can barely believe I'm typing this, let alone that it actually occurred. But I packed work out clothes on the trip AND I used them. Whhhhhat?!?! Nope, no pigs were actually flying. But I've gotten into a really good rhythm with working out (basically if I'm home after kids go to bed then I'm on the elliptical for at least 30 min) and I didn't want mess up the good thing I had going. Plus it's become SUCH a routine for me that I actually missed it. I know, crazy talk.
So I thought I'd be super cool and be one of those people who go "for a run on the beach." That's a thing, right? I felt so cool with my workout clothes on doing me thing going to the beach just a normal girl who totally works out all the time. My foot has done well with the elliptical and there was a part of the beach with super hard sand (where cars actually drive) so I felt like it'd do fine there. I got to the area and it was SUPER pretty. But then I realized I WAS ALONE. Mama don't do alone. I ran down a little and then came back. I didn't have my gun or my stun gun or heck even my mace. Someone could totally snatch me up and rape me. No. Thanks. I totally chickened out and instead went back to the condo and just rain stairs the whole work out. I was right next to the room and felt a billion times safer :)
I hadn't mentioned it in this post but a big concern leading up to the trip was actually my face. My post about it (you can read here!) actually ended prior to the beach trip so I haven't done an update after that post. I was on a LOT of meds and by the time we left for the beach the swelling in both my cheek and eye were pretty much gone. I felt confident for our photo session and was happy with the progress!
It was annoying because I had to eat TWO TUBS OF YOGURT A DAY, even on the trip. I was on antibiotics for a LONG TIME and I was so beyond over it. I did end my steroids the day we arrived and the morning of the 4th I woke up in pain. My cheek was a lot swollen again and tender to the touch. I kinda freaked out. The only thing that had changed was ending the steroid but of course it was a holiday and I couldn't call then. I waited and put a call in on the 5th. I ended up doing another round of steroids (lower dosage) and it helped bring it back down and take away the pain. So frustrating to not just be RID of it and be able to fully enjoy the vacation but I'm SO thankful for such an awesome team of drs that I trust and who know me so well that they also trust me. I'm also thankful we keep an account with CVS. I hate them locally but it's SO HANDY to have a national chain when traveling! We picked up my meds no problem!
Lots more from our trip coming up!