St Augustine Trip 2020 {Part 1}

St Augustine Trip 2020 {Part 1}

Every year since before Zach and I were even married we’ve gone to St Augustine, Florida for the Fourth of July.

Some years we did just a day trip, then we started staying one night…and it just kept snowballing until we now stay a full week πŸ˜‰

It is Zach’s favorite trip every year. I love it too…but I’m the “cool Disney mom” I’m NOT the “cool beach mom.” And I own that.

I LOVE the beach solo or with fellow adults. I love my toes in the sand and a good book in my hand. But the beach with kids? I’ll pass.

I’m NOT an overly anxious person but the beach STRESSES ME OUT. Theme park? Kye can go off by himself and ride a ride and I don’t worry. He goes in the ocean? I worry. At the beach I have to be physically concerned about ALL four kids. ALL THE TIME.

I can’t relax. EVER.

I love our yearly trip – but, nope, it ain’t my fav.

Last year I especially didn’t LOVE it because we had way too much beach time for me haha. This time we mapped it out SO much better and mixed it up with several other things and it was a GREAT flow.

It was ironic that SO MANY plans have been canceled due to the pandemic and the trip we FINALLY get to take isn’t one that I love as much as everyone else does. It was SO NICE though to have ONE plan actually HAPPEN and felt so good for normalcy and for the tradition to continue!

This year we did switch up our travel and went Wednesday – Wednesday rather than Saturday – Saturday. Zach had a work meeting he needed to be back for and it also ended up working out to plan it that way since the 4th was on a Saturday!

We got down to the condo to get settled in. Last year was our first year at this particular condo (Seawinds) and we stayed directly on the beach.

We had booked the same unit for this year but at THE last minute the owner CANCELED our booking. Not covid related either. Just canceled on us! Who does that?

As a rental property owner myself, I have literally rearranged our own travel plans in order to accommodate a guest. I just can’t imagine kicking someone out of a booking especially when they’d booked it almost an entire year prior!

It ended up really working out for the best as we had SUCH a great yard this year and a great spot and it saved us about $300 not being directly on the beach (and this year every dollar being saved helps right?).

Britt said her favorite part of every trip is checking out the accommodations and she was SO excited about our beach getaway!

I know Zach really loved being oceanfront but I LOVED our backyard this year!

This little pond was so great. The kids had so much fun! Zach brought the corn hole he’d built at home and he and Kye had a lot of fun playing (and later in the week even made friends with a neighbor and played with him one night too).

We had tacos and got settled in and enjoyed the gorgeous evening outback! Kye even WON at corn hole!

Our first beach day kicked off with the beach!

The kids were SO PUMPED and it was nice this year to just go out ONCE rather than going back and forth with Spear taking a morning nap πŸ™‚

I love that the beach has areas where the water gathers to create a bit of a pond vibe. It’s PERFECT for little ones and for sandcastle building (and cartwheels).

Zach goes down first thing to get everything set up on the beach and it’s nice that the kids are getting older and more able to be a true help!

We packed lunch and headed up at nap time. Spear napped so awesome at the beach – boy was WORN OUT.

The big kids didn’t have to nap and instead got to play and do things they enjoyed together.

While I’m not the fun beach mom I still wanted to make sure to pour into my kids and spend quality time with them on the trip. Kye wanted to play Stratego and it brought back my childhood as I really loved that game as a kid!

We always try to be strategic with when we visit Old Town for our annual pizza outing and we went ahead and went that afternoon to hopefully beat the weekend rush!

We have a lot of favorite spots and things to do in St Augustine – you can read them all in this post!

Our annual must-have tradition? CANNON PICS!!!

Every year we get our cannon pics, our pizza and ICE CREAM! It made my heart so happy seeing Spear excited over the same train that Kye was so pumped about at the same age. Traditions are a blessing.

We let the kids each choose a flavor and our rule is “anything other than Superman”

This year we told Kye since he’s 11 and can eat ice cream without wearing it that he’s allowed to have Superman πŸ˜‰ Perks of being a preteen haha

Tessie ordered PISTACHIO. How random is that? And she loved it!

Ice cream pics may be my new fav picture of my four happy kids!

We got back to the house early enough for some more playtime out back!

The girls LOVED collecting baby frogs – especially Tess. She was the frog whisperer and kept parenting them haha

On our second day at the beach we kicked things off with a MORNING of putt-putt. We thought maybe by going in the morning it wouldn’t be as hot.

And that by going in the morning we’d beat the crowds.

We were super wrong on both accounts. There was a legit line waiting to get in which meant we, naturally, had suppper slow players ahead of us.

I also didn’t even put sunscreen on the kids. Or bring any. Or bring any water.

So it was a real parenting win kinda morning for me ha!

Fun Fact: I don’t think I’ve EVER played putt-putt on this annual outing. I’m always the carrier of things, the watcher of infants or toddlers and the taker of pictures πŸ˜‰ And I don’t mind it!

I told the kids they better be ready because I’m gonna be a BEAST here in a couple years when I’m playing with them. I have all sorts of secret putt putt skills they do not yet know about πŸ˜‰

Kye is VERY competitive and will self sabotage at times. When he plays good, he’s in an awesome and fun mood. If he hits a tough moment and doesn’t play as well, he will sometimes meltdown or act out and then play awful.

That happened on this day and it’s really tough as a parent to see it happening but not really have any way to stop it as it’s something HE has to work on and work through.

We’ve had a LOT of talks about it and have come up with some great strategies that are helping a TON. On this particular day we were in such a rush to play that we (Kye and I) failed to really cover our basis with setting him up for success (positive self talk reminders, lots of water).

On the other hand though, Britt was playing terrible but kept a GREAT attitude and outlook and it paid off as she ended up making two hole in ones in a row!!!

Tess is also randomly really good at putt-putt and she played the entire course all by herself! This was her first year finishing the entire 18 holes πŸ™‚

The Hole In One Club:

We were all HOT and TIRED and HUNGRY so we headed back to the house and got lunch and ice cream sandwich treats and…shocker…enjoyed the back yard area some more before naps!

Daddy even introduced the kids to COKE which yall know I WAS NOT HAPPY ABOUT. Zach loves Coke and peanuts and he let the kids try a sip. Not cool Zach, not cool πŸ˜‰

My way to pour into Britt is to often bake with her. She loves baking together and we tried something new – lemon squares!

After naps we ate a early dinner and then HIT THE BEACH!

While I’m not a super big beach mom…I AM a fan of the beach in the evenings. It’s my favorite time to go. It’s so much less crowded and so much more chill and relaxed to me for some reason.

Even though usually the waves are actually more dangerous in the evenings – for some reason I feel more chill haha

AND best part about this beach night? WE NAILED THE ANNUAL BEACH PIC! It was only day TWO and BOOM it was DONE!

Life is getting easier the older the kids get for sure πŸ™‚

It was such perfect weather and just one of those perfectly gorgeous evenings where we all had fun and there was a breeze and it wasn’t hot and all the kids were HAPPY!

I adore the few opportunities to have my boys matching πŸ™‚

There were tons of birds and Spear and Britt loved chasing them! I love when I capture her pure joy πŸ™‚

We had noticed a few families on the beach with children who weren’t the same race as the parents and kinda assumed it was a transracial adoption. I think as an adoptive mama I just am always on the look out for fellow adoptive families.

I don’t know anyone in my close circle who has had an adoptive experience and I got SO EXCITED when I saw a family with a little boy that looked the same age as Spear on the beach.

Zach ended up chatting with them while I was in the water with the kids and I was super eager to get back to the sand to talk to them too.

It was SUCH a God meeting. Our boys hit it off INSTANTLY. I’ve never seen Spear have an instant bond with another child aside from siblings.

They played so sweetly and kept hugging each other and even learned each other’s names. It was PRECIOUS.

I never wanted to leave as it filled my heart with such joy to have a fellow adoptive mama who GETS IT. We talked about so many of the things that we simply can’t talk about with other people. We swapped stories, shared insights, and it was crazy how many of the emotions I’ve felt she has also felt.

Just knowing you’re not alone in your experiences is so HUGE. Sure our situations weren’t exactly the same, but it was such a gift to have adopted boys exactly the same age and to have a moment where I felt so connected to someone else who I’d never even met due to our shared perspectives and experiences.

It was just an awesome evening and I’m thankful to now have that connection and friendship in my life! We may live across the country but, thank you social media, will be able to keep in touch!

With our new found friendships we stayed out WAY later than we normally would but it was totally worth it and this cool mom even let the kids have a “late night” snack when we got back!

Our annual trip was off to an epic start! It was such a great vibe this year as our second year in the same condo area.

I love exploring new places…but there is something so GREAT about going back to a place where you’ve been before and are already familiar. It’s just easier and more comfortable and that was def the case this year! Knowing what to expect, especially with kids, is a huge perk!

Part 2 coming up!

A video should auto play in this post covering our entire St Augustine trip! So many fun and adorable moments πŸ™‚

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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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