Monday, May 21, 2012

Back from the Beach

I started this post at the beach, but didn't get around to finishing it since we were too busy enjoying ourselves! And we got back on Friday night, but I've spent the weekend in denial over vacation actually being over. Now trying to tell you all about our vacation in one post, I may breeze through it, but I'll try to hit the high points.

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 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.

Craving Oysters Rockefeller, we found a great restaurant and ordered the big oyster sampler as an appetizer while Matt and Kate fed the turtles off the restaurant's patio. A big storm rolled in, however, and we had to move inside. That was the only foul weather of our trip, and the rest of the week was gorgeous!

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
After church, we headed out to the beach for our first big beach day.
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)
One of my favorite beach vacation activities is dining on seafood—especially at dockside restaurants. Viewing boats while eating shellfish is a beach essential for me.

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 also rode a ferris wheel at The Wharf, went to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, and took a dolphin-sighting boat ride!

We usually ate lunch in the condo, enjoying some shady time on the balcony before heading back out to the beach.
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.)

Kate didn't like going into the water too much (getting saltwater in her eyes and/or mouth) but loved playing in the sand and at the edge of the water. We collected TONS of shells. I think I'm going to decorate a picture frame with them to hold a family pic from the beach.

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!


Amy said...

Well this looks familiar! Our condo is on Perdido Key on the FL side, so I'm familiar with the Flora Bama, Tacky Jack's, Lulu's, etc... It's a great beach and I'm so glad my kids have been able to grow up on that beach. We are going next week actually and everyone is very excited!

Great pictures!!

Katie Bug said...

Fun vacation! Gulf Shores is where we go, too. We'd like to take a trip back there next summer, so I'll have to keep that baby beach tent in mind!

Lauren said...

We went to Gulf Shores on our honeymoon 5.5 years ago. We especially enjoyed Lulu's!


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