We arrived in Orange Beach, Alabama on Saturday evening and got settled into our condo. Since it's the nice down time between the spring break and summer peaks, we got a good deal on a three bedroom condo on Homeaway.com. It was nice to have separate spaces for each girl, so they don't wake each other up at night. It was dinnertime by the time we arrived and got settled, but we went out on the beach for a few minutes before going to eat.
Sunday, Mother's Day, we went to church at a cool service at the Flora-Bama, a well-known dive bar on the Florida-Alabama state line. The service was an outreach of Perdido Bay United Methodist Church, and it was great. Very, very well done, and as Matt pointed out, very Wesleyan in its taking church to the people. The bar opened at 11am on Sunday (the same time as the service) so people were already bellying up to the outdoor bars while the music and preaching were going on.
|Me and my girls on Mother's Day 2012|
|Kate was excited.|
|Claire wasn't so sure.|
|My favorite pic—ultimate joy.|
|It took Claire a few hours to tolerate the sand|
(prior to that, she cried whenever I set her down)
|Suitably dressed in a nautical smocked dress :)|
We also enjoyed "Cheeseburgers in Paradise" at Lulu's (Jimmy Buffett's sister's restaurant). Claire got to try lots of fun "big people food"—garlic bread, crackers, and even cheese grits out of my shrimp & grits at Tacky Jack's. She's sitting up pretty well now, and is voracious for any food she can get her hands on.
|We even played Memory out on the balcony!|
|Claire is creeping pretty well now, going after toys that get away from her,|
and after any food we have out—hungry little piggy!
The very best part of the beach was (as it should be) the BEACH! We enjoyed at least a few hours in the sand and surf each day. This was our set up: rented lounge chairs and umbrella, my big beach bag from Thirty-One (I saw several other families with the same bag in different fabrics—it is really a good pool/beach bag), and Claire's baby tent.
The tent was the best purchase I made for this trip; she napped in it on the beach every day—longer and better naps than she EVER takes at home or school. (I got it from the One Step Ahead catalog, but it's also available on Amazon.)
It took Claire a few hours the first day to tolerate the sand, but after that, she seemed to enjoy it. We pushed sand up around her bottom (a natural Bumbo!) to help her sit up. Even when she did topple over and get sand on her face, she was totally fine with it!
Claire was equally skeptical about the water at first, crying if it touched her at all, but she later came to like sitting at the water's edge with me, letting the waves get her feet.
This is just a smattering of the almost 400 photos we took—I'll share some of the "nice" family photos we took in another post this week. If you're hungry for more cute beach-baby pics, you're welcome to check out the 240 best pics on Shutterfly, if it will let you view our album.
We never considered ourselves "beach people," always preferring city or inland-nature destinations, but after a very busy year, this relaxing trip really hit the spot. We had a great time and could have spent another week there at least!