Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hope you have a few minutes

When we were in Alabama, Ann asked Abby a question about what she likes to do when she goes to the beach. I told her that the kids had never been to the beach before, and she promptly looked up the child abuse hotline number to turn me in for neglect.

In truth, I wasn’t sure how much the kids were going to like the beach. Sure, it looks fun and exciting. But in reality, sand gets all up on (and in) you and there are creatures that can hurt you floating around in the water. The water which, by the way, comes right up and splashes you when you didn’t do anything to it at all. I was prepared for us to spend 10 minutes there and then the rest of the week at the safe, clean pool. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Ethan found his own personal heaven in the sand—the world’s largest mess, and he was allowed to make it bigger! Abby loved the sand and the water, and spent most of her time on a mission to collect seashells. They were beach bums.

As much fun as we had at the beach, we did lots of other great stuff too. Our house was in a neighborhood that had a 12,000 square foot pool. It was amazing, and we went there almost every day. There were also some fun fountains for the kids to play in. Panama City Beach was just a few minutes’ drive away. They have a really great complex called Pier Park that’s like a mall and amusement park rolled into one. We explored some of the little beach towns around ours. My sister-in-law’s parents live in Pensacola, and they were crazy kind enough to come down one afternoon and watch ALL EIGHT kids so the 6 of us could go to dinner. It was heavenly.

On Wednesday, Matt, Patty and I got to go parasailing. It was FAN.TAS.TIC. I would love to take credit for being adventurous, but it’s seriously easier to do that riding a bike. You sit on the boat. They strap you in to the little seat-harness. You’re gently lifted (far far FAR) into the air. You come back down. You land gently onto the boat. You’re unstrapped. Cake. Since you go 2 at a time and there were 3 of us, guess who got to go twice? ME! Abby doesn’t weigh enough, but the second she does I’m taking her.

Before I started writing this post, I went through the pictures and picked the ones to include. There are a LOT. I love Blogger, but one of the things I do NOT love about it is that its picture uploading process is pretty messed up. You can only do 5 at a time, and they come in a really jumbled order and are a huge pain to move around. I say all that for two reasons: 1) So that you will be eternally grateful for the effort I made to show you my vacation pictures, and 2) So I can justify the fact that I am going to leave them in the random order that they’re downloaded.

So, in really and truly NO particular order, here are the visual highlights of our vacation:

Can you tell I liked parasailing?

Abby's seashell collection:
My too-stinkin-cute niece Natalie:

There was not a single inch of this child not covered in sand. He looked like I had dipped him in cinnamon and sugar.

Required waves picture:

Me and my two great SILs, Siobhan and Patty. My brothers did well for themselves.

Abby's cute, albeit odd, seashell-hunting stance:

The White-And-Khakis. Every day about half an hour before dusk, look at any walkway to a beach and you will see droves of these people heading to get portraits taken. I bet at least half the people who read this (that would be what, 3?) have a picture like this at home. You know who you are:

One evening's bounty:

You throw sand into the water. Then you do it again. And again. And again.

Michael and sweet baby Claire:

Dang, my girl is pretty.

Gorgeous, really.

She even has pretty toes. Especially up next to mine.

Our walkway.

Drew and Josh (they're twins) were fascinated by Ethan's Leapster playing. That Leapster, by the way, was the single thread to sanity on our trip home.

No caption necessary.

Required beach photo:

Aaand another one:

Happiness at the pool:

Those fountains feel mighty strange on your hind end I'm told:

Ethan went the more traditional route of running through them:

Schnuggled with the kids after swimming:

Well. How do I explain this one? Natalie brought a lot of Barbies with her. Abby liked to set them up in "dance scenes." Despite the angle of the photo, I can personally assure you that Barbie #3 is NOT inappropriately touching Barbie #2. It was totally innocent.

Josh and Drew helping with Claire. All the kids made it their personal mission to entertain her.
Jacob, Patty, Michael, Siobhan, me and Matt at dinner.
I had to:
Required beach scene:
After parasailing. The boat ride was rougher than the sailing.
This is how FAR we were from the boat. And the water. And anything but the air.
I took my camera up, of course. So glad I did!

Drew feeding Josh either a cracker or some sand. I made it my mission the entire week to get Drew and Josh to say something, anything, to me besides "No." It was their answer to me for everything, even "Hello!" Josh cracked first--I told Drew he lost his shot at being my favorite twin.
This is my favorite picture, so I'm glad it came last. Our first time to the beach, I ran ahead and got into the water. I turned around and snapped a picture right as the kids stepped into the ocean for the first time (well, it actually came up to meet them). Couldn't have asked for a better reaction.
This concludes the presentation of the 2009 AMEN family vacation photos. Thank you for joining us. Now I have to figure out something else to blog about.

PS. Would it kill you to post a comment? Just asking!


Cori said...

Absolutely wonderful!! I know the kiddos had a great time, but I am thinking that the adults may have had just as good (if not better) time as the kids :o)

I absolutely loved parasailing in Mexico, but doubt I could do it this trip. As for the actual beach, I am not a huge fan. I don't mind laying there watching the pretty waves, but I don't like the salt water or the sand in the bathing suit. That is why we go to a resort with an AWESOME pool!

Patty said...

Great conclusion with some great pics (even though I didn't see any of Jake and Aidan). :) If I had to narrow it down to one thing I enjoyed the most, it would have to be the evenings we spent at the beach. It was beautiful, perfect temperature with a great breeze. I loved watching the kids have fun. Perfect beach memories! Second would have to be the parasailing. Awesome, awesome! I can't wait until Jake and Abby can come with us!!!

Anonymous said...

What wrong with heading out in khaki and white for photos....not that I was one of those people:)

Aidan and Zachary said...

Nancy, your kids are gorgeous! Looks like an amazing time and makes me what to start planning a beach trip for our family before we get turned in for neglect!

Aidan and Zachary said...

Oh, and we have the khaki and white picture of our family sitting on top of the TV! But, it was taken in Oklahoma not Florida.

Alice said...

Yes, we are one of those families with the beach photos but we have not been since Sadie was born....perfect excuse to go again.....right?

Thanks for sharing your vacation with us.

Sarah said...

I am jealous. Is that what you were going for? :) Love the pics.

Anonymous said...

Love it!!! Wonderful vacation!!! I see sand for us next year!!! One way or another! I LOVE the beach, water & Abs, finding sea shells...I could do that ALL DAY LONG!!! I don't if I could get a picture of Syd without pink, though!!! Lol!!
Kori "o)

Janet said...

I'm tryin' to remember...were Papa D and Donnet on this trip?

AMENMom said...

They were, but they somehow managed to make themselves scarce when a camera was around. Not sure how that happened.

Stacy said...

The first photo of you and Matt parasailing HAS to be your christmas card this year! What a great shot!!