We had the blessing to go to the beach over Memorial Day weekend. Courtney's teacher has a condo there and she was so sweet to offer it to us as teacher's had to work after the holiday, so her family wasn't going to be using it. This was a perfect start to the summer season for the girls, celebrating our 16th anniversary, and looking forward to JT's 1st birthday.
We had not been to the beach since leaving California, so we were all eager to get to the sand and surf. We were also equally excited with knowing it was going to be the Gulf beach- which means warm water and beautiful white sand. For those of you who haven't been to California, the water there is freezing all year long. Even in the summer, it's cold enough to give you goosebumps and purple lips.
It was quite a long drive- a little over 8 hours- but considering we had to stop every 2-3 hours to change JT and let him walk his legs and use some energy, not bad. JT was an absolute angel with this long trip, John and I talked about it often on the drive. It certainly helped that his 3 adoring sisters were available to entertain him. Orange Beach is in Alabama, but also near the Florida border, so on our drive in we actually crossed into Florida for about 45 minutes. We had to stop and take a picture of us by the sign- another state to check off the list of those visited!
Here is an example of some of the types of houses/condos we saw when first entering Florida/Orange Beach. Many of these had bright beachy colors and just looked like a place you just want to live in someday...
On our first full day at Orange Beach, we did nothing but swim, lounge, and play in the sand all day long. We had a great place on the sand and had umbrellas for shade when we needed a break and a safe place for JT to play. The girls pretty much were in the water most of the day just getting out to eat. JT had his first experience of the ocean- while he wasn't overjoyed with the waves, he wasn't terrified of it either. Yay! John brought him out into the water and JT was content being in Daddy's arms. The only thing JT didn't like was standing on the sand when the waves would crash around his feet. I think how it feels like the water is pulling you back into the ocean was a bit disorienting to his senses. There were also several pools at the facility and JT loved splashing about in his baby float. I must admit I liked being in the pool because it kind of freaks me out thinking about the little fish swimming around my feet. I am a big baby with stuff like that :)
We also had a great dinner after our day at the beach- we grilled hamburgers, steaks, and corn on the cob. After being outside all day long and perhaps the ocean air, that meal tasted FANTASTIC!!! We were all commenting on how yummy everything tasted. Even JT seemed ravenous, taking big baby bites of my hamburger! At the end of the day, we found evidence of being outdoors too long- sunburns :( We had slathered everyone up several times during the day, but obviously not quite enough. The picture here is of Lindsay's back after we applied some aloe vera gel ( that's why she's shiny). The girls were pretty tender but now being home for a few days, the color is now golden brown and looking much better. Thankfully JT did not burn at all.
On day 2 it rained/thunderstormed for most of the day. I think it was a good thing in that the girls burns were protected since we couldn't go outside. We did find a great outlet shopping center and picked up a few great deals for the kids. Not really any pics from this day from my camera, because I didn't bring it. When we got back to the condo, we played Phase 10 with the girls. It is a really fun card game and Courtney came from behind to dominate and win.
On our last day the sun came out once again and we let the girls go down to the beach, swim, and have fun. We packed up our load of gear and headed back to reality... It was such a joy to spend some quality time with the family and relax on Orange Beach.Sarah trying to look surfer fierce...