Big Kid Trip to Satellite Beach

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Whew, our carpet situation y’all has been SO crazy. We desperately needed new carpet throughout our entire house as our carpet was installed in 2010 and was builder grade carpet (which basically means it was crap carpet from Day 1). It got to the point where the carpet was literally ripping up in places. It was BAD. 

So we chose some carpet and scheduled the install and I booked a hotel for the big kids and I to go to visit Satellite Beach for my cousin’s baby shower. Then the carpet they installed was WRONG and we woke up with a flat tire. So I canceled the hotel stay and we ended up not going to the beach that weekend. 

It took almost 3 weeks to have the correct carpet arrive and for the guys to be able to install it. It was ROUGH waiting. Our house was in literal CHAOS with stuff everywhere. I was SO READY to get it all just DONE. 

Lowe’s ended up giving us the carpet at half off. We had roughly 2500 square feet of carpet installed and we went with the second best (we ain’t fancy but I also do NOT want to have to do this again in another 8 years. I’m hoping this junk lasts a solid 20!) carpet and the best mating and got it ALL, including install, for only $3000. I mean that’s legit awesome. 

I told Zach I wasn’t going to say that the money saved was worth the hassle until it was all said and done. Well. Now it’s all said and done and I’ve FINALLY got pretty much the entire house back in order and I will say it: it was worth the hassle πŸ˜‰ 

It really did all work out so much better for the weekend in Satellite Beach too. Originally we’d planned to drive down on a Sat morning and come back on a Sun night. So a super short trip and driving at night which I’m pretty much straight up BLIND at night with driving! With the way this worked out we left Friday afternoon and came back Sunday morning so we were able to stay two nights and no night driving! I hate I missed my cousin’s shower but overall the trip really worked out to be better timing wise!

I checked Tessie and the big two out of school and they were so excited for the Big Kid Club adventure with Mommy!

I discussed this in my post about Christmas but Tessie struggled this year with some unappreciative behavior (you can read more about it here). She and I worked together to go through the gifts that she wasn’t kind in receiving (and yes, all the gifts were things that Zach and I purchased for her). I found out that Wolfson’s Children Hospital in Jacksonville accepts new toys to give as gifts to the children there and it was the perfect fit for what I was looking for. 

Tess did BEAUTIFULLY with donating the toys. On Christmas Day we went through them together and set them aside. Yes, she still had PLENTY of gifts. She just didn’t get to keep the ones she was ugly about in her receiving over them. And she was okay with that. She understood that other children would appreciate them and that we need to be grateful for the things we have. 

I opened the offer up to Kye and Britt as well and they both donated a few of their gifts that they knew other children would enjoy more than they would. I was very proud of all three of them and their giving hearts!

The hospital was a super easy stop on our way down to Satellite Beach. As we walked into the hospital to find the area to donate the toys we passed many children and Tess kept saying “There’s a child! Give them a toy!” It was really cute that she was so excited about it. 

It was SUPER easy to donate the gifts! The Children’s Hospital was SO awesome. We went to the desk and they had us fill out a sheet with our info and the items we were donating and asked if we wanted a photo. Duh we did πŸ˜‰ 

As we handed off the toys the kids did have a bit of a struggle with it. Britt said “oh man I really did like that toy” etc. But it was very brief and they did such a great job in passing the toys along. As we left we all talked about how great it made us feel. By the time we got to the car Tess said “I bet a child is playing with my toy RIGHT NOW.” She was truly SO happy about making the donation which made me so proud. 

I’d really like for this to become an annual tradition. We received the sweetest note from Wolfson thanking us for the toys and I’ve heard from friends who have known people who have had their children at Wolfson that the toys really are such an appreciated thing for these kids! 

I love deal hunting and with us cutting back on gifts for the kids I feel like making a yearly donation to the hospital would be the PERFECT way to still get my deals fix without giving my kids entirely too many presents! 

This ended up being such a great lesson for us all and I know Tess better understands to be thankful for things she receives but also how good it feels to bless others rather than ourselves!

I realized Tessie and I were matching with our boots! Mine are these mocassins πŸ™‚ 

Jacksonville is about halfway to Satellite Beach so we hit the road and got to the hotel at 5ish. Obviously, my big thing with traveling solo with kids is SAFETY so when it came to booking a hotel I wanted to make sure we stayed somewhere super safe. 

I was born in Satellite Beach (FL) and we moved to Lawrenceville (GA) when I was about 4 but pretty much all of my mom’s side of the family still lived in the area so we visited often and I just have so many amazing memories about the town. It’s THE cutest town on the PLANET. Seriously. And it just feels LIKE HOME for me. 

When I was able to come visit in October I just had such an incredible time that I’ve been eager to go back. Ideally, I’d love to visit as an entire family and we’re planning to drive over from Orlando when we visit the Disney House (it’s only 45ish min!) but it made more sense for Zach and Spear to stay behind this visit. With all the carpet issues and concerns, Zach really needed to be there to oversee everything and he was able to work on installing the new kitchen floor at the same time too! 

When I chose a hotel for us to stay at I went with the same hotel my mom brought my brother and I to when we’d go down to visit. I figured if my single mother of two felt safe there 25 years ago then surely I’d be safe there now! 

It felt surreal being in a place where I visited so many times as a child and to be bringing MY children there. I remember my cousin Meghan and I running down the hallways of the hotel. My brother and I swimming in the pool. 

Whoop whoop living the fancy life!

We basically dropped our bags and headed out the door. As yall know the last 6ish years have been tough for me in a lot of ways regarding family. I’ve seen my mom once in that time period at a wedding. For a long time, the lack of relationship with my mom meant a lack of relationship with members of her side of the family. And it’s seriously been SO INCREDIBLE to see the Lord working in those relationships and to see doors being opened and bonds reconnecting. 

Literally, words cannot even come close to describing how much this has all meant to be and the impact it’s made on my life. Seeing family in October was an overcoming of emotion for me. Being in my home town with MY family just made me feel like ME ya know? It was this feeling of HOME that nothing else can compare too. 

I’m blessed with great in-laws and am fortunate to live so close to Zach’s family. But they are his family. And so often I’m sitting there feeling outside of. They share their childhood stories. They have their inside jokes. That bond of family born together and raised together. And I’m not part of that. And I haven’t had that for myself in a long, long time.

Having that again is not only INCREDIBLE but it also is overwhelming because it’s a realization just how much I’ve been missing that and how much I’ve been needing those relationships in my life. I’m just so, so grateful to have these connections again in my life. So thankful. 

The kids loved trading off getting to be the leader. We had to park SO FAR from our room so it made every outing over the weekend a little mini-adventure πŸ˜‰ 

We met up with Mikey, Michelle, Caleb and Carter. Mickey and Michelle are newlyweds and I’m so sad we had to miss the wedding but appreciate them SO MUCH for driving over to Melbourne to meet up with us at Chuck E Cheese. My crew had never been to a Chuck E Cheese before and I was so impressed with it. I haven’t been since a kid and it’s changed SO MUCH. Now Chuck E walks around visiting rather than being stuck in a station. They also have it where you get a stamp when you walk in the door and they check it before you leave for safety. 

So we were literally just allowed to let the kids GO! They had a BLAST! And it allowed us adults to visit and catch up. It’s also funny to me how growing up your “old” cousins aren’t really that much older than you. As a kid I thought Mikey was SO OLD haha and now I’m like um we are actually close in age haha. 

We had SUCH a fabulous time. I loved getting to visit with them both and to get to know them better. Truly such a great night. We shut the place DOWN and the kids would have stayed even longer!

The kids all hit it off right away and had SUCH a blast playing all the games and running around together. Tess kept asking all weekend when we could go back and we for sure have to hit it up again in the future!

We didn’t get back to the room until almost 10. Which yall know is CRAZY late for our crew. Of course, all the excitement didn’t help get sleep time ready either haha. We had struggles deciding who would sleep with Mommy so I told them Kye could sleep with me night 1, Britt night 2 and Tessie for nap. It worked out well! Y’all know we DO NOT co-sleep. So sharing beds with the kids was a huge special treat to them! 

Lucky for me I sleep pretty easily and pretty HARD so I wasn’t too concerned with a kid messing with me. But Tess could NOT chill. She was just too excited and kept messing with Britt in the bed and finally, at 10:30, I told her if she didn’t go to sleep that I was going to make her sleep in the bathtub…that worked πŸ˜‰ 

My bed buddy for night one! He was so sweet holding my hand until we fell asleep! 

When I booked the hotel for the trip I reached out to the family that lives in the area to see if anyone was free to meet up. We didn’t have any sort of set plans so I originally planned to hit up the local zoo. It’s the first zoo Kye visited and the first one Tess visited too!

But then we were up so late with the Chuck E Cheese and I realized the kids and I both were all just SO excited to BE in the town that we didn’t need to be entertained πŸ˜‰ Instead we took our time getting up and just had chill time (they loved just hanging in the bed watching Saturday morning cartoons…something we NEVER do at home) and decided to spend the day EXPLORING. 

We live in the town where Zach grew up. They see all the places. All the memory spots. Heck they attend church where his parents got married and will most likely graduate from the same high school he did…they need a good dose of MOMMY HISTORY πŸ˜‰ 

And what was even more fun was just how excited and eager they all were about our plans for the day! 

Not a bad way to wake up πŸ™‚ 

First stop: BAGEL WORLD. Of course!

I let the kids go wild. It was well after 9:00 by the time we got there and they are used to eating breakfast at 7 am so they were STARVING. I also knew we’d be back again the next morning and thought they could use the first morning to nail down their favs. So we got a few different things and all tried everything!

Cheddar Cheese Bagel. Egg. Bacon. Cheese. Peanutbutter. PERFECTION.

Thank you random stranger who offered to take our pic πŸ™‚ 

After our breakfast fix we drove by Nana’s house

Then we debated if we should drive the 15 minutes to visit the spot where Zach and I got married or try to find the spot where he proposed. We decided to head towards our wedding location (Cocoa Beach) and stop along the way to try to find where Zach proposed. 

I mean I know the spot had a boardwalk type area and stairs and a pretty decent parking area and I knew we had bushes behind us. But that’s about all I remembered. The spot where Zach proposed is the same spot he first told me he knew I was “the one” so it’s a super special spot but dang there are a LOT of public beach spot areas! 

I called Zach and he said he was pretty sure it was near the base (Moody Airforce Base) so I pulled into this one which is directly across from the base and fit everything I remembered from that day so I feel pretty confident that it’s THE spot but I mean I’m far from 100% on that haha!

If that moment at this beach hadn’t happened then these three wouldn’t be here πŸ™‚ 

We hadn’t planned for swimming (it was pretty chilly yall!) but I mean who can resist playing at the beach!?! Total cool mom mode, I just soaked in their joy and let ’em do their thing (and let them suffer the uncomfortableness afterward when they had wet/sandy clothes and we didn’t even have a single towel!). 

I got quite a few updates from Zach on how he and Spear and the carpet were all going…including this little friend he found in our yard. 

New kitchen floor + New carpet!!!

Zach took Spear out to eat just the two of them and I’m actually pretty jealous about it and want to take Spear out just him and I now too! Zach said they had THE best time and that Spear was dancing to all the music and even had his first taste of ice cream. Plus, duh, they got a whole lot of attention πŸ˜‰ 

I was SO HAPPY to see that it was the CORRECT carpet and that it looks SO good with the new floors!!!

Zach also finished the firepit area! He build it completely on his own and even wired it for lights so we can have lots of marshmallow roasting at night! It all looks SO good and we can’t wait to have friends over to enjoy it with!

After we finished at the beach we headed to the high school. I moved away from Satellite Beach when I was four. My parents divorced in elementary school and my mom moved back to the Satellite Beach area before my freshman year of high school. I lived there my freshman year then moved between my freshman and sophomore year back up to Georgia. So I spent one year of high school in Satellite Beach and attended the same high school my mom and her siblings attended. I have many great memories from that year and it was fun to take the kids to visit!

It also made me want to plan another visit up to Lawrenceville to go show them where I really spent majority of my childhood and high school years! They were SO PUMPED about seeing everything in Sat Beach that I know they’d feel the same way about L’Ville!

Britt was THE most into it all πŸ™‚

A really awesome thing about Satellite Beach is that it has not changed like at all. So many things were exactly the same as they’ve always been. Kye kept saying he just really loved the town because it felt so relaxing there and Britt decided we should all move down there asap πŸ˜‰ 

I took the kids by the Breeze-Thru. I don’t get why these aren’t more popular but I remember it from when we lived there when I was a preschooler. It’s a little store where you DRIVE THROUGH and can buy quick items like milk and bread. Um. GENIUS. I think all of us mamas of littles agree that this is something that really needs to take off on a larger scale!

I took them to see the house I lived in with my mom during my freshman year in high school. I drove around a bit because I wasn’t sure I had the right house. It looks NOTHING the same. Like every part of it is totally different. When we lived there it was brick and had a completely different roof. I wonder if they had some bad storm damage or something and had to completely renovate?!? It was cool showing them how stinking close we lived to the beach!

I was raised Catholic and wanted to take the kids by our church where my parents got married and where we attended when we lived there or visited. My grandmother was a very devoted member of her church and when she passed away she wanted her ashes to be placed there. 

My kids have never visited a Catholic Church and it was a great chance to go by and let them check it out. 

We went into this garden area where Nana’s ashes were spread and were able to walk around and go into a little room area to pray and reflect which was all very beautiful and peaceful. 

Her final resting place (Barbara Bublitz). It was my first time visiting the area since her funeral and it was a bit emotional for me. I have so many wonderful memories of Nana and love that we share so many things in common. I wish she was here now to know my babies and see me in my role as a mother. I think she’d be very proud πŸ™‚ 

Britt’s dress was a tad bit short to be walking into a church…but that’s what happens when you run in the ocean πŸ˜‰ 

The building was open and we were able to go inside and, it too, hasn’t changed at all. As a member of the church of christ our churches are VERY plain and simple so walking into a Catholic church was a completely different vibe for my kids. They had quite a few questions but we saved them for the car after we left. 

They all wanted a picture with the Jesus statue which kinda cracked me up but Kye said “I feel like I HAVE to get a picture with him because it’s Jesus and it would hurt his feelings” haha!

We headed back to the hotel to allow for some time to chill and swim and nap before our dinner plans! The pool was heated but, of course, it started RAINING right when we got out there so I was FREEZING while watching them swim!

The kids were hungry and we decided it’d be fun to order ROOM SERVICE. What’s more fun than room service?!?! The kids each ordered something and we snuggled up in the bed and watched some HGTV while we waited for it to arrive. They ate their lunch then we ALL NAPPED. It was GLORIOUS!

Tessie got her sleep time with Mommy!

CASHED.

We didn’t pack a whole lot of stuff so when the kids were all wet from the beach they had to go ahead and wear their clothes for the next day to dinner! You can see my dress from Amazon here πŸ™‚ 

Whenever we’d come visit Satellite Beach we’d ALWAYS eat at Longdoggers. I have such great memories with Nana there and wanted to be sure to visit there with the kids. I was so pumped that SO many of my family members were able to meet up with us. The food was pretty disappointing though so we discussed better options for next time around but it was SO FUN to have everyone together! Susi and Josh drove from Vero with their precious new baby Jade. Liz and Ben brought their sweet girl Brooke. Sabrina, Josh, Uncle Jeff and Aunt Lauri were all able to come too. How many times can I say just how happy my heart was over the course of this weekend? SO. HAPPY.

The kids did really well with all the adult talk and visiting and the balloon animal saga kept them entertained πŸ˜‰ 

The babies got all the attention! Jade and Brooke are SO PRECIOUS!

Balloon animals for the win πŸ™‚

I was VERY proud of the kids for their behavior and patience with dinner so even though it was pretty late I still wanted to stop by and grab some ice cream as a little reward and, duh, another cool mommy moment!

We got back to the room slightly earlier than the night prior and headed straight to bed. Kye had to share with Tess but she fell asleep quicker than the night prior and I had my Britt snuggle time πŸ™‚ 

The next morning we headed out early to meet Jonathan for breakfast, again, at Bagel World. The kids each have their own BFF cousin so I told them all about how Jonathan is MY BFF cousin and they were so excited to get to know him better. It was THE perfect morning. Just catching up and seeing my kids interacting with someone who means so much to me. It couldn’t have been better and I’m excited for more memory making to come πŸ™‚ 

We headed home after Bagel World and got to come home to BEAUTIFUL carpet all nice and finished and Zach had worked hard to put all the furniture back and the house back in order the best he could. It’s taken me several weeks to really get things sorted but it’s also because I’m trying to purge and organize as I go! 

It has been tough on my heart the last several months as Kye specifically has really been asking to spend time with MY family. He and Britt are both old enough now to recognize that we spend a lot of time with Daddy’s family and not time with Mommy’s. Having this weekend filled my heart so much, but also theirs

The kids truly loved seeing the town but especially the people. I appreciate all of my family so much for visiting with us and for reopening these doors and opportunities for bonding closer together. I’m SO excited for the future to come. The memories to be made. The moments to share. I cannot express it enough just how meaningful it all is in my life. I loved getting to do SO much visiting with SO many family members and hope to get to see everyone else soon too πŸ™‚ 

We had an incredible weekend and can’t wait to visit again with Zach and Spear along with us!

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, FacebookΒ and Pinterest!

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1 Comment

  1. Kelly
    January 31, 2019 / 4:02 pm

    What a fun visit! I hear you on the carpet drama and how difficult things must have been at your house during that process. We had our carpets cleaned today and it was crazy getting ready last night with having to pick up everything that’s on the floor. Makes me want to do a major purge! I need to watch Tidying Up.

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