Aaaaand we're back! I'm going to have to start thinking of more creative blog titles since we're going to have our own beach house soon and, hopefully, more beach vacays. Otherwise, this is going to start getting repetitive. As you read from my last post, we hit the road around 1:00 on Wednesday and we just returned yesterday afternoon (Memorial Day). It was just me, Doc, and my parents on this trip. Doc found us a nice condo for the trip and, even though it was on the opposite side of the street as the beach, we lucked out that there were no buildings blocking our view of the ocean, just a bunch of trees. So we enjoyed this view from our living room all weekend.
While the biggest item on the agenda was to relax, we did have a few business items we needed to take care of while we were in town. We decided to get all of that out of the way early on, so Thursday morning we got up early to meet our builders for breakfast. You know how you can really tell you're on vacation? When you go to breakfast on a weekday and get to order a mimosa, even though the people you're eating with have to go to work afterwards.
We had breakfast in Grayton Beach at Another Broken Egg. My mom suggested the restaurant and then got nervous that we wouldn't like it. Doc and I both reassured her that it was hard to mess up breakfast but y'all - this place was AMAZING. Oh my goodness, I think I could eat breakfast there everyday. I had an eggs benedict that had crab cakes instead of ham and a side of cheese grits. So delicious.
It was nice to meet with the builders and grill them with questions. We had hoped to get to see some progress on the house while we were in town, but unfortunately, it was still a lot full of wild brush. The builders were waiting on a final permit before they could begin clearing it. Not really what we wanted to hear, but the permit did come in while we were in town and they are going to get started this Wednesday (tomorrow!). When my brother and his family goes on vacation in a couple of weeks, they should be able to see some good progress.
The builder gave us a list of vendors he likes to use, so after breakfast we set out to visit some of them. This is my first experience with building a house from scratch and I'm learning quickly how overwhelming it can be! Our first stop was a floor place that had both hardwood and tile. Where do you start in a store like that? Everything looks the same! Fortunately (or unfortunately?) we're on a strict budget, so we were quickly pointed to the direction of things that fell within price range we're working with. At least that narrowed our choices down. We did have to remind ourselves a few times that this is not the house that we'll be living in full time and that other people will be renting it, so it wasn't too hard to wave bye-bye to any super high-end stuff that may have caught our eye. We managed to fight off the food coma long enough to make preliminary selections on hardwood, tile, carpet, and cabinets.
After that? Vacation was on like Donkey Kong. We raced back to our condo so we could get changed and catch the last couple of hours of sun down on the beach.
Hello freckles. Some of those little brown spots I haven't seen since last summer. It's good to have them back.
The boys had most of their trip planned out. Tee times for both Saturday and Sunday mornings, and an early fly-fishing trip scheduled for Friday morning. They were supposed to be outside waiting on their guide a few minutes before 6 am to get going. Doc was so excited about the trip that he hopped out of bed with no problems. He headed to the bathroom to get cleaned up, popped in his contacts, got dressed, and then finally looked at the clock: 3:30 am. A wee bit early.
After a 2-hour nap, Doc got up again and the boys made their way outside to wait for their guide, only to find out that he was having car trouble and couldn't pick them up until 8:00. Doc got to take his second nap of the day before I had even woken up once!
They did finally make it out on the water, though, and managed to catch around 25 fish between the two of them. They seemed to have a good time. Doc snapped this picture of my dad with his phone.
When I asked Doc where the picture of him and a fish was, he responded with, "Your dad didn't offer to take a picture of me." Gee thanks, Dad.
That night we walked down a couple of blocks to have dinner at La Cocina.
It's the restaurant that's lit up at the bottom of this building.
The weather was nice so we decided to eat outside.
At one point I looked up, and I swear it looked like I was having dinner with a character from one of my favorite movies.
Can you tell which movie character I'm referring to?
Think about it...
Squint if you need to...
Give up? Here's a hint.
Yes, that would be Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. You better believe we called him Lloyd for the duration of the trip.
The next morning, the guys took the car to the golf course. Mom and I decided to try out the neighborhood pool since we hadn't been to it yet. It's the same neighborhood pool that we'll have access to from our house. We arrived pretty early and were able to get great spots. The pool area is fantastic! It's very resort-like, with about five or so pools that all kinda feed into each other from waterfalls. The area is huge so there's plenty of room for everyone. I can definitely see us spending a lot more time there, especially when we have kids in tow.
By the time the guys got back that afternoon, we were ready to take the car from them and go shopping. Man, I love the outlet mall down there! We left them as they settled in for naps and took our time hitting up every store we wanted. We got some great deals, especially since it was a holiday weekend.
Before dinner that night, I forced everyone to walk down to the beach to take pictures. Yes, I was that girl. We did have someone to offer to take our picture as we were walking that way, so we officially have one (off center) picture that proves we were all on the same vacation together.
We walked through this row of palm trees any time we went to the beach. Ideally it'd be nice to be beach front, but if we're gonna have to walk, at least it's a pretty walk.
The stairs. Oh, the stairs. When headed to the beach, they are your very best friend, the only thing left separating you from the glorious white sand beach and emerald blue ocean. Those stairs are the pathway to ultimate relaxation.
But then, hours later when it's time to head upstairs to cool off and recover from the sun's hot rays, those stairs become the absolute devil, staring you in the face as you trek across the burning hot stand and then daring you to try to make it up them barefoot and without stopping. I swear, midway up that climb I wish I could burn those stairs down and never see them again. They make me question why I even decided to go to the beach and did I really need to lug all that stuff down there with me?
But usually, by the time I've rinsed off my feet under the shower at the top of the stairs, I'm over it. It's a love-hate relationship with the stairs, is what I'm saying.
Our first round of pictures Saturday night were actually taken on those gosh-awful stairs.
We were losing the sun fast but I still tried to get some shots of the pretty sunset.
I have this problem where I'm always finding cute pictures online that I want to recreate, but then when I find myself in a position where the scenery is pretty and I actually have my camera with me, I can't ever remember any of those cute picture poses. Does that happen to anyone else? Since I had already forced everyone down there to take pictures, I felt like I had to do something, so I decided I'd take one of those jump-in-the-air pictures of my Mom and Dad that everyone else always does.
I tried to coach them on it. Hold hands, always smile and look at me, kick your feet up when you jump.
They decided on this start position all by themselves. Dad is focused.
1, 2, 3...jump!
And that's what we got, folks. I don't think anyone is going to be bookmarking any of our beach photos so they can come back and try to replicate them. I will give my parents props, though, for giving it their best shot.
Just for fun, here's another set of outtakes. This time I scooted back to get more in the frame. Dad was convinced that he could do better. Note the determination on his face.
Maybe it was the sheer determination, maybe he jumped the gun, I don't know. All I know is he left Mom in his dust.
I was planning on leaving the jump-in-the-air pictures at that, but I can already hear what my mom will say if I post these pictures of her without any of myself. In order to be fair, here's the best one of me and Doc - the one that looks like we barely got off the ground and my elbow doubles as a weapon.
This is my favorite beach shot of my hubs.
Then I stepped in to show off my tan lines.
Me and the momsers.
These two ended up being my favorites of my mom and dad.
By this time, Dad was done taking pictures. He'd had enough. He told me to put the camera down and that we were headed that way...
...to get some food. It looks like he took off the pink shirt to show off the red one.
We walked down the beach to Rosemary (their stairs have a ramp!) and chose Cowgirl Kitchen as our dinner spot. The tables were all full so ate at the bar. There, we learned nutrition facts.
Man, the food there was good too. Doc and I each had a pizza and my parents had the meatloaf. Their meatloaf came with a side of mac and cheese that I could've eaten a whole plate of. It was tasty!
Sunday - our last full day of vacation - Mom and I chose the beach over the pool. This time the boys met us down there after their golf game, and they even brought us lunch!
Here's our teeny tiny section of the beach, where we all tried to fit under our little circle of shade. (Thanks for letting us use the umbrella again, Lala and Poppa!)
Nice sunburn, Pops.
Doc seems to have one to match it. What is it with guys not applying SPF?
In all fairness, I teased them about their sunburns because they looked so bad, but I'm the one who ended up sick. I spent about 24 hours feeling like garbage thanks to the burn I got on the first day.
That afternoon we made a quick return trip to the outlet mall to hit just a couple stores, and then went to Baytowne Wharf for dinner. Doc and I had been there before, but this was the first time in peak season when everything was open. There is so much to do, especially for kids! I highly recommend it anytime you're in the area.
This tall guy was the first person I noticed when we walked in.
My dad, always the hungry one, noticed this first.
The guys on the streets of Baytowne.
And my parents. I don't remember what was so funny.
Doc and I have a picture taken in almost this exact same spot from 2007. We were with the Kinsers and they get credit for introducing us to Baytowne.
This real statue lady reminded me of New Orleans. I didn't even realize she was a real person until I was snapping the picture.
We ate at a place called Acme that served New Orleans style po' boys. It was pretty good, but the best part was that the candy store was directly across the street. I watched people walk out of it eating chocolate throughout our whole meal so I couldn't really focus on my sandwich. I didn't have to twist anyone's arm to go there for dessert.
We spent a few minutes watching these boats in the bay. You could pay to operate them from the dock.
Right over the bay is a zipline so people of all ages were zipping above us. They also had a high ropes course that I really wanted to do. Next time I go to Baytowne, I will not wear a dress.
Mom and I were the ultimate tourists when we climbed up in the giant adirondack chair for a picture. It's awkward having your picture made when there's a line of people waiting for you to move so they can climb up there.
We did a little window shopping and ended up convincing my dad to come in one shop and try on a pair of Sanuks. Mom, Doc, and I all already own a pair of these shoes and they are the most comfortable shoes ever! (Don't tell anyone at TOMS that I said that, because I really love their shoes too and especially their mission, but Sanuks take the cake when it comes to comfort. I know, I didn't think it was possible to beat out TOMS either.)
Not only did Dad try on a pair, but he instantly fell in love and bought them! That's big time for him. We made him sit on a bench and put them on right away. Dad's stylin' now!
We made it back to our condo that night just in time for a Memorial Day fireworks show. We had no idea it was even happening, but it ended up being right across the street from us. We had front row seats right on our balcony.
The fireworks were the perfect finale for our vacation.
A couple other things from our vacay:
- At my mom's suggestion, the first book I read was Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. It's about a little boy who dies and goes to heaven and his experiences there. I know, sounds hokey, but it really isn't. The story's told by his dad, a pastor, and isn't a cheesy, let's-cry-it-out message at all. It's a quick, easy read. Definitely recommended.
- Mom and I both also had The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly downloaded on our kindles, and raced through reading it. It's a John Grisham type of book and is pretty entertaining. I loved it and can't wait to see the movie now.
- Somehow the tv ended up the history channel one night and we ended up watching hours of Swamp People. It's a reality show about people in Louisiana that hunt and kill alligators as their living. The stars are backwoods country folk who probably have no clue things like blogs even exist, but the show is like a train wreck in that you can't look away. It's fascinating to watch. These people really live this way! Seriously, give it a try. Once you hear Troy yell "Shood 'em, Lizzabeth!" you won't be able to turn away.
Ok, phew! I think that's it. I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend, too!