Our 13th Wedding Anniversary

Our 13th Wedding Anniversary

Even prior to Corona our anniversary trip this year was all up in the air. There was a chance Zach may have earned a free trip to Jamaica for April and our thinking was if he earned that trip, we’d use that for our anniversary trip.

Of course a pandemic hit so any ideas of any sort of travel quickly went away. But it’s SO important for Zach and I to get away together.

Some years we’ve gone on several trips just the two of us but now that we have four kids we really try to limit the amount of time we’re away and have to rely on others for childcare. We know Zach’s mom loves having the kids but four kids ain’t no joke and we never want to put too much on her plate!

We really try to make sure we getaway twice a year. Our anniversary and our little getaway at Christmas. Even if it’s just a night or two, it’s so important for our marriage to have that time to really reconnect away from the kids and the busy rush of life at home.

As with all things Corona, our trip for our anniversary had to be very last minute.

We decided to go to Jacksonville Beach for two nights. A plus side of living in a pandemic is that travel options are pretty dang cheap so we got to stay at One Ocean Resort which is a resort I’ve heard a LOT about over the years but have never had the chance to stay at!

We took the kids to Zach’s parent’s house on Tuesday, May 26th then got up early on Wednesday the 27th and drove down to Jacksonville. We talked a bit about Spear’s birth as he was born in Jax and so many of the memories of that time in our lives happened in that area.

We got checked in at the resort and headed to the room only to find out our key didn’t work and we were locked out. Y’all that has happened to us SO MANY TIMES.

Once we finally got in the room was SO pretty. I loved the decor and the relaxed, beach vibe.

We got ready as quickly as we could so we could hit the beach! We both just wanted to CHILL. Have time together relaxing on the beach.

Leading up to the trip the forecast was super bad rain and we lucked out and instead had GORGEOUS beach weather!

I find all of the pandemic life stuff so interesting as everywhere we go it’s a bit different. The resort was only offering to clean rooms every few days which is a big downgrade I see hotels sticking with long term. Kinda like the whole “reuse your towel to save the environment” thing. It’s a way to save money for THEM to not have rooms cleaned daily so of course they will take advantage of that!

Other than a note and a downgrade in offerings at the resort (no food offered in the rooms which I guess is usually a standard thing) there wasn’t much that was different than the norm which was super nice for us! It felt like a true vacation without being constantly reminded that we are living in a pandemic.

The resort gave us free chairs for our check in day due to there being poor communication on their end regarding the resort fee. We’d booked the resort thinking we’d have more amenities than they had due to corona. We weren’t mad about a hook up on the chairs and umbrella though πŸ˜‰

We had such a great day just relaxing and reading but especially talking. I felt like we had some GREAT talks and did more talking than we did anything else which was just what we both needed.

The last few months had been SO stressful and it was so great to just escape and focus on US!

Rainclouds came in around 3ish so we headed up and got ready and decided to go for a super early dinner #oldpeoplestatus.

I LOVE that the Ocean Club Resort is located in SUCH a great spot! The parking fee was pretty pricey but it made sense when we arrived and saw all the cute shops and restaurants in the area and how tough it would be to find parking. The parking spot is a perk for sure πŸ˜‰

The resort even had umbrellas for us to use for our walk in the rain.

We looked up the options for dinner while beaching it up and decided on Mexican food. It was a super cute restaurant and the queso was INSANELY yummy! I highly recommend The Flying Iguana.

We did see some signage regarding social distancing and all of the staff at the restaurant wore masks. Some tables were blocked off but it was all very casual feeling and we saw very few non employees wearing masks.

We decided to walk down a little further to get some dessert at a cute little chocolate shop that also sold ice cream.

It was a first for us to be required to wear gloves while in the shop and we rolled with it. It was SO nice to talk to the employee at the store and find out that they never shut their doors during any part of the pandemic.

The nice thing about eating dinner at 4:30 is that we got to take our time and enjoy the evening and still have tons of time to watch Ozark when we got back to the room πŸ˜‰

It was a big week with LOTS of Disney news and I spent a good bit of time with learning all the news Disney released during our trip.

I had a LOT of feelings. I have always had so much love for Disney and am always quick to defend Disney but mannn I feel like the lack of communication is really a magic killer for me and many, many other hardcore Disney lovers!

Here are some of my thoughts:

We had big plans for our actual anniversary (May 28th) to have MORE BEACH TIME πŸ™‚

When we got out there and got the chairs set up it hit me – I LOVE relaxing on the beach but I only really enjoy it when I can have my feet in the water. I get super hot and my skin responds to the heat with melasma so I am always super careful to not get overheated and having my feet in the water prevents it.

So I made the call to walk down to the Walgreens and buy a beach chair. It took me about 45 min total but it was sooo worth it. I LOVED getting to sit with my toes in the sand and just relax and read.

It was another beautiful day and we had time together.

It was also pretty humorous as I had a friendly chat for well over an hour with a random dude. He had been collecting seashells and I apologized if I was in the way of his hunt. Well apparently he’s a fellow extrovert who has been struggling with life in quarantine and just wanting someone to talk to.

Yall. The stories this dude told me. It was HILARIOUS and Zach never jumped in to save me haha he just sat back on the beach and watched me be stuck talking to this guy for, again, OVER AN HOUR.

He told me about his time in the White House visiting with former presidents. About his recommendations for Kye to get into Harvard someday. About his wealth and life living in South Africa. And details about his infant son being kidnapped from the arms of his nanny and how he helped track down the guy who did it.

C-RAZY stuff it was SO entertaining. I kept joking it was the highlight of my trip haha.

We finished up at the beach and spent a little time hanging by the pool. While we were there we saw a little girl toddling along in her cute bathing suit and watched poop fall out of her as she walked.

The mom was mortified and grabbed her and ran into the bathroom while hollering to her husband to clean it up. This dude was beyond chill. He took his time getting up and getting a napkin and picking up the poop.

He didn’t even attempt to wash off the pool deck or the puddle of pee. Just left it there! And everyone in the area SAW what was going on. So it’s not like we didn’t know!

I ended up dumping water on the area to clean it off a bit – I mean someone had to!

We went up to the room and got ready and enjoyed catching up with the kids on FaceTime. They LOVE spending time with Big Papa and G-Mama and it’s nice when we travel as it gives them the chance to have quality time with their grandparents. We get together with Zach’s family pretty often and it’s a LOT of people and a LOT of kids so it’s hard for them to connect with Mrs Charlotte and Mr Rusty as much.

Our time away is the best time they get together!

Kye went over to the farm with Big Papa and helped him a lot and we were so proud to hear he was working hard (and enjoying Mema’s lemon cookies too!).

For dinner we decided to eat at Coop 303. It was fantastic and while there we realized we both ordered the exact same entree as we did last year at our anniversary dinner in Williamsburg (shrimp and grits for me – waffles and chicken for him). We really are turning into an old married couple πŸ˜‰

I LOVE that the waitress took several pics of us together. It’s like my favorite thing when random strangers take the time to really get a GOOD picture. She made sure the sign looked good and everything. I’m telling you if you’re ever asking a random stranger to take a photo for you always, always ask someone in their 20s πŸ™‚

We loved the ice cream so much the night prior that we walked back down to get more. Perfect treat!

We did not exchange anniversary gifts as Zach wasn’t able to work during the quarantine and we’re trying to be really wise with our spending. We both agreed that the time away together was the perfect gift we could give each other right now πŸ™‚ We actually even forgot to exchange cards! Oops! Good thing neither of our love languages are words of affirmation huh?

We again had an early evening night and had plenty of time the next morning to hit the beach for a little bit one last time before checking out.

I went back to the beach while Zach hung by the pool and he sent me a text warning me that my friend from the day prior was heading my way.

Y’all I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast! I couldn’t figure out how to fold up my beach chair so I just carried it up the beach unfolded haha. I did not want to get trapped again!

After a little beach time we headed back to the room to get ready and get everything packed up to check out!

We headed to St Johns Town Center area before we headed for home.

During our stay was when a lot of the protests started happening related to the Black Lives Matter movement. When we saw some people holding signs we assumed they were protesting but instead they were Trump supporters and people pushing for America to reopen. Not what we’d been expecting regarding protests.

We made reservations to do an Escape Room at St Johns Town Center and I also needed to run into Old Navy to get a couple of things to finalize our family picture outfits πŸ˜‰

Old Navy was limiting the number of guests allowed in and we had to wait in a line outside to enter the store. The thing that doesn’t make sense is that then there was a huge line to check out and basically no one browsing. In limiting the number of guests they really should consider a person done shopping when they enter the check out line and go ahead and let another guest in to have some browsing rather than everyone just being in line.

We LOVED our Escape Room experience together on our trip over Christmas in Orlando (so much so that we actually bought gift cards to support them during the shut down and plan to go back with Kye!) and were excited about trying out another one together.

It didn’t disappoint! However we were SO RUSHED at the end that we just asked for a million clues and couldn’t fully ENJOY the last room. It took us quite a bit to get rolling because we weren’t together in the first room which through us off a good bit with things and the employee told us after that the specific room we did was better for larger groups, which makes sense.

If you’re heading to Jacksonville area The Escape Game is great…just don’t forget to socially distance on those park benches πŸ˜‰

We ended up escaping our room with LITERALLY one second to spare. But we don’t consider it a huge win since we did have to ask for so many clues.

I was REALLY nervous when we did the first escape room together because I have always been nervous to be on a team with Zach and somehow let him down. He’s super competitive and I’m not and I worry I will mess up.

But we work really well together actually! Even though this room wasn’t a huge win, we still worked well as a team and he was super patient with me and kept it FUN πŸ™‚

When we finished up we headed over to Blaze Pizza for lunch. Mine was SO YUMMY. We drove through and got CFA Coffee Milkshakes for the ride home.

A new traveling tradition we started on our Christmas trip away together was to ask on Instagram for people to submit questions for us. We worked through them on the trip and answered them ALL and it was SO SO FUN!

So we decided to do it again this trip and it was a great way to have a bonding time together and we really love it and I love that my community enjoys it so much too. πŸ™‚

The video should auto-play in this post of our fun q&a but if not, you can also watch it on YouTube here!

We had SUCH a wonderful couple of days away together. As always, we’re super appreciative of my mil for taking such good care of our babies. They loved the time they got to spend with G-Mama and Big Papa and we loved the time we got to spend with each other pouring into our marriage!

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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 Love What Matters, 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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