Sunday, June 22, 2008

Destin for Greatness!!!

We just got back from a family trip to Destin, Florida! We had so much fun!!! Destin is a great family-friendly place to visit - I'd highly recommend it for families with small children. There are parks, playgrounds, pools, tree houses, etc. hidden all over the city. Lots of places to explore for busy little munchkins. We went with Wade's mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, and our nieces. All three kids (as well as the adults) had a blast!

We bit the bullet and decided to make the drive (12 hours) in my little Honda. We saved A LOT on gas, and it went much better than I expected. We were able to fit in all of our stuff (including Wade's golf clubs) and everyone was comfortable. I was certain that Clayton was going to be a holy terror in the car for that long. Much to my surprise, he was an absolute angel. There was one little melt down on the way home after his 5:30am wake up call. (To be honest, I felt a bit like crying myself, though.) Other than that, he sat and watched movies, talked, sang, played I Spy, and was very pleasant to be around. I could just kiss the person who invented the car DVD player! He definitely exceeded the 1.5 hour maximum of TV a day that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but it sure did make our lives easier!
Here is a synopsis of our trip. WARNING: You are about to embark on a huge mess of pictures!!!

Saturday, June 14th:
We spent all morning in the car. Towards the end, Wade and I were both complaining. He was upset about the traffic and I was tired of the heat and humidity. Immediately following our whining session, we looked back to see Clayton relaxing with his hands folded behind his head. He looked at me and said, "I love the 'cation!" Kinda puts you in your place...
We stopped in Alabama to tour the USS Alabama.
Wade & Clayton with a fighter jet.
We finally made it to the Sunshine State!!!
Sunday, June 15th:
We went to Baytowne Wharf to walk around, shop, and play. There was a really cool tree house that we found for the kids. I, of course, coerced my boys into a family picture. :)
Monday, June 16th:
The little ones were very anxious to hit the beach! They played in the ocean, built sandcastles, and buried each other in the sand. They were all a little confused by the white sand. Makinley, my 7 year-old niece said, "Mom, I didn't know that it snowed in the summer in Florida!!!" I asked Clayton if he thought that the sand looked like sugar. He replied, "I think it looks more like flour!" A good (and gritty) time was had by all!
Tuesday, June 17th:
Tuesday was a big play day. We went to Fudpucker's restaurant for lunch. They have a ton of live alligators! You can buy little pieces of food, rig them up on these poles, and feed the gators. The gators weren't really very hungry, but it was cool, nonetheless. The best part of the day for all three of the kids was when they got to hold a live alligator and get their picture taken. Clayton was especially thrilled! He turned the gator around so that he could see his face and said, "Mommy, why is there tape on his mouth?!?!" Maybe he will be the next Crocodile Hunter.... Lord, I hope not!
After visiting the gators, we went on a dolphin cruise. We did get to see some dolphins, but Morgan and Clayton were more excited about their chance to drive the boat. Of course, Clayton jerked the wheel to the right as soon as he got into the captain's chair - no surprise there! Luckily, it is a huge boat and we were going very slow.
Wednesday, June 18th:
We took the kids to a little amusement park on the strip. They had several rides for smaller children, go carts, bumper cars, bumper boats, and mini golf. We stuck to the little rides. Clayton's favorite was the airplanes.
Thursday, June 19th:
We went to the Gulfarium. They had shows with dolphins, seals, otters, etc. They also had exhibits of sharks, penguins, stingrays, sea turtles, and tropical birds. The kids liked getting to see the animals do their tricks up close. The neatest trick was at the dolphin show. One of the trainers stood out on a platform and put a raw fish in her mouth (GROSS!). One of the dolphins jumped up and took the fish right out of her mouth. Crazy!
Clayton got to hold a real starfish. He had talked for weeks about wanting to see a starfish. So... this was one of the highlights of his trip!
Friday, June 20th:
Most of our crew went shark fishing in the morning. My brother-in-law, Corey, caught a 70 lb. shark! Everyone else caught mackerel. My mother-in-law, Marsha, and I took Clayton & Morgan to play at the park and then for one last swim in the pool across from our bungalow. To top off the trip, we went to the beach at sunset for one last photo op. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE pictures. I was really excited about getting some good pictures on the beach. We all had coordinating clothing - we had done some serious planning for this picture. Of course, five minutes before we left, Clayton busted his nose playing on the fold-out bed. He had a huge bleeding gash right across the bridge of his nose. Just my luck! Thank goodness for Photoshop!

Now we are home sweet home. Vacation was great, but it was sure nice to sleep in my own bed last night! I'll spend the next few days trying to reprogram my off-schedule, over-sugared, rotten child. Oh my....


Brad and Emily said...

What a fun trip! I love all the beach pictures! Cute family!

Chris & Amanda Farrell said...

Maybe you need to get Clayton a pet alligator :)

Mrs. H said...

Thank you for sharing all these pictures. It was a perfect avenue of sharing your 'cation. All of your descriptions gave a vision of all the vacationers having a great time. The picture of the three at sunset on the beach is one of my favorites.

Kati said...

Looks like you guys had fun! The last pic. of Clayton is super cute!

Megan said...

Your pictures on the beach are great!

Jeff said...


Matt & Cindy Fleharty said...

Love the new header!! Especially BODACIOUS. Yesssss. Thanks so much for being a great hostess :) You are awesome!

Angie said...

What a fun vacation!! And great family pictures too!! I love them!

Mrs. H said...

I am impressed with your new layout. How do you have time?!

Tiffany Foster said...

I love the beach pics! We're going to Seaside (which I think is close to Destin) in Aug. so I'll have to get some tips from you!