Thursday, July 25, 2013

Destin Vacation 2013: Day 1,2, and 3

We went to Destin, Florida for a last minute family vacation this year.  We were gone July 12-20th, and made some wonderful memories as a family of 5.  This was our first vacation with all three kids!  Until now, the logistics of traveling with all of our monkeys were just too overwhelming.  Now they are all at great ages to travel, and we had to best time!  This is the first summer since 2007 that I haven't been pregnant or had a child under the age of two.  Crazy, huh?  As sad as I am to close that chapter of our life, it sure makes travel so much easier.  :)

We weren't going to take a vacation this summer.  We took the big boys skiing in March, and planned for that to be our trip this year.  But...  One day the boys and I were talking about the beach.  Drew asked a few questions, and I realized that he was our only child that had never been to the beach.  I really wanted to show him the sand and the water - I knew he would love it.  So, I begged and pleaded  casually mentioned to Wade that I would love to take a family beach vacay.  Wade did some research and found a really good deal on a condo in Sandestin.  My sweet hubs worked his magic and voila! a vacation was born.  :)

Wade used Hertz points to rent a minivan to drive.  I know that minivans get a bad rap, but that thing was awesome for the trip!  It had an optional single seat that fit between the bucket seats in the second row, so all three kids could sit together.  Then we folded the third row flat and packed that sucker to the gills.  We fit soooo much stuff in there!  We had a pack n play, fold up pavilion, two beach chairs, three camp chairs, golf clubs, 4 fishing poles, suitcases, duffel bags, a full sized cooler, beach bag, food, etc.  It was crazytown how much we could cram in.  I'm starting to realize why young families love the swagger wagon so much.  Ha!

Our kids have always been pretty good travelers, so I figured that they would do pretty well on the road.  They surpassed even my wildest dreams by how well they did.  We were so proud for our three little fellas!  The drive was a breeze - I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I just had to document Wade driving a minivan - something he swore he would never do.  Ha!  He drove the entire way there and back.  He hates to ride, so he declined my multiple offers to take the wheel.  That was a-okay with me.  ;)
My sister-in-law and brother-in-law got us hooked on the show Duck Dynasty last Thanksgiving when we spent a few days together.  We all love it, but Clayton is especially a fan.  We have to censor it some and there are a few episodes that he isn't allowed to watch, of course, but it is pretty wholesome, for the most part.  Anyway...  We surprised Clayton by driving through West Monroe, Louisiana on the way to Florida.  It added a bit of time to our drive, but it was worth it to get to see the Duck Commander warehouse.  My boy was happy, happy, happy!  ;)
 They have the 40th Anniversary world's biggest duck call on display.  Fun!
 We didn't see any of the duckmen, which C was pretty bummed about.  We did get to see Willie Jr, though.  Clayton asked him for a photo and he was happy to oblige.  He seems like a sweet kid.

We broke up the drive on the way there and spent the first night in Mississippi.

Honestly, I don't have a single picture from Day 2 of vacation.  We drove the rest of the way to Destin and got settled in the condo.  That morning, I got some horrible news about a dear friend, and Wade and I were both broken hearted.   I was so grieved that I spent the majority of the day crying and pleading with God.  It was one of the saddest, darkest days that I have ever experienced.  I even told Wade that I wanted to go home.  I felt so guilty being on a fun trip when I knew that my dear friend was hurting.  My wise hubby reminded me that this particular friend is such a fun girl and loves her family more than anything.  She would be sad if she knew that I wasn't enjoying time away with my family.

My mind was still with my friend throughout the week - I thought about her constantly and prayed so hard for her.  I tried to put on a happy face for my kids and enjoy the time we had together.  In hindsight, I think the Lord knew that I needed to be there and be surrounded by Wade and my happy children 24/7 after receiving such bad news.  Wade was my rock and seeing my kids so overjoyed was good for my soul.

On Day 3, we went to the beach.  My heart was still so grieved, but seeing the vast ocean and every little grain of sand reminded me that our God is so BIG.  He created every little thing and cares about even the tiniest detail.  Even in the darkest times, He is always present and remains in control.  I'm so glad that we don't have to carry our burdens alone!

The sugar sand beach and emerald waters were so gorgeous.  My beach boys were loving life!

 We had to bury them in the sand, of course.  ;)
 It sprinkled on us on and off throughout the day.  See that grey sky in the background?  We were grateful for the pavilion that some friends let us borrow for the trip.

 Owen had only been to the beach once when he was 3 months old.  
I think that he enjoyed it even more this time around.  ;)
 Drew had the best time digging in the sand, boogie boarding in the waves, and looking for shells.  His sweet smile says it all!
More vacation memories to come...  Stay tuned!