For quite awhile now (my entire life), I've wanted to rent a beach house with friends / family and stay a week or so. Obviously that's not the cheapest thing, or the easiest idea to plan, especially when you're working with so many different (and busy!) schedules. It didn't work out with friends this time, but we were able to go down to the Gulf with Brian, Kirsten & Jenny.
We celebrated Pioneer Day by getting in the car and attempting the 6-hour drive down south. It was one of the worst trips with Maddy to date. (Not that we take many.) Of course it doesn't compare to the trip to Misery, but with Maddy being the most high maintenance traveler EVER, it came close. I didn't get a chance to go to the dollar store and get little things for them like I did the last time we traveled, and I'm telling you, I will NEVER make that mistake again. We tried to prepare them, telling them it was a long drive, yadda yadda, but UGH. I think we made it to Burleson before they started saying they were bored and asking how far away the beach was. We tried a bunch of things to distract them, had treats, toys, books, but nothing could dissuade Maddy from hating being in the car. And of course since she was in that frame of mind, she took her brother right down with her.
After one million stops (sorry B, K & J!), we finally made it to the condo. The reviews had all been positive about the place we were staying, but wow, we were still pleasantly surprised. The place was C-L-E-A-N, spacious and smelled delightful. I couldn't believe it. The only complaint was the lack of toilet paper and paper towels. But I still say we got a steal of a deal and will definitely make it back. Perfect access to the beach, super close access to one of the community pools, etc.
We ordered dinner and then walked down to the beach. The sun was setting at this point, and it was GORGEOUS. The kids loved it, and why I even wasted my breath telling them to 'only get their feet wet' I have no idea.
Thursday morning we got up and headed out to the beach.
(Some of these pictures were taken on Friday. I know. It killed me to combine them, but I need to get over that.)
Hudson wasn't super sure about the waves at first, but he warmed up to them. Maddy... I barely saw her the entire time we were out there. She couldn't get enough of the ocean. It was definitely the highlight of my life to see them enjoying themselves so thoroughly.
We were out there a looooooooooong time and K & B, my extremely white-skinned cohorts, were burned BADLY. So bad that the extent of the burn wasn't realized until we all came home and they peeled. And then peeled. And then peeled. The first day, they somehow thought SPF 15 would be enough?? (We all sported SPF 50.) But the next day, they lathered up with some newly purchased SPF 50. Did nothing for them. Needless to say, that sunscreen was thrown away...
We went out to dinner that night at this quaint little place, called Beaches Cafe & Bakery, which had mostly good reviews. When we got there, the "hostess" didn't have room for us, so our option was we could be split up. We opted to wait, which totally confused her. She couldn't understand why we wanted to wait, especially since she couldn't guarantee the wait time. Maybe they're just used to people leaving and going somewhere else - there's no shortage of places to eat - but we were in it to win it. Not too long after, we finally got a table. The food was very good!And they had an amazing assortment of desserts... heavenly, I tell you.
Friday morning there was a free beach walk, provided by the Parks & Rec Dept. We drove a couple miles down the beach and met up with a crowd of people. Honestly, I think my expectations for this were set way too high. First of all, it was sooooo muggy. My camera kept fogging up and I couldn't get anything to stop it. (And if you can't take pictures of an event, what's the point??) ;) Secondly, it was already pretty hot to go along with the mugginess. And it was early in the morning, not my finest hour even at the best of times, but with this pregnancy, it's been downright awful. I tried to gear up for it, and listened to the sweet lady rattle on and on about shells (they were all the same!!!), until finally I said, "Uhh, let's go." So we went back to our beach and enjoyed every last bit of sunshine that we could.
Finally it was time to pack up, which was tragic. I didn't want to leave, like, ever. But according to Jenny's watch (that lies!), we needed to get back to the condo and get ready for dinner. It was Friday and the crowds were already coming in. ...Surprise - when we got back to the condo, we realized that Jenny's watch had been an hour and a half ahead all day. NO WONDER. Ha. But it was just as well, getting seven people showered and dressed ain't easy, especially when there are sunburns involved.
We opted to try Seafood & Spaghetti Works, and it was great. Well, for the others who like seafood. I got spaghetti, and it was fine, but nothing amazing. Their salad bar rocked though, I didn't leave hungry. :)
After dinner, we walked over to one of the gigantic tourist traps and looked around. The kids each got a (small) toy, and then we went to Winton's Island Candy for dessert. They had so many different candies - it was nuts. I'm more of a chocolate lover, so I didn't leave with anything, but it was very busy and you can tell it's a favorite down there.
After the kids were in bed, Kirsten & I caught up on the Royal baby and everyone else watched the stupidest TV show ever imaginable. Ugh. Not the most fun way to end the trip, but I think we were all pretty exhausted. And burnt.
The next morning we packed up and left. :( It was sad to say goodbye to the beach, but we WILL be back!! The trip home made for some tense moments in the car between Maddy and her parental units. At one point Mike asked if she'd like to be dropped off on a patch of grass so that she wouldn't have to continue being in the car. He told her "next time we won't bring you with us on the trip, you can stay home." Replying to that comment of his, she sulked, and Hudson said "We go on a trip next time, me, you and Mama, and you DROP THAT GIRL OFF!!!"
Hahahaha. Oh so funny.
Til next time, Port A!
(With or without Maddy.)