Ohhhh my. What a vacay! I will be writing a couple of posts about this trip because I don’t want to forget anything. We had the BEST family vacation in Florida and I am super sad that it is over. I could have stayed at the beach all summer!
A few things before I start with the daily run-down. First, we went with the Dempseys who have done this a few times! I am so thankful we went in with some experience because the planning really paid off. They knew what they were doing! Second, we brought a babysitter. Lauren was a complete lifesaver and I’ve now decided I need a live-in nanny just like her. I can’t have her because she’s in college out of state, and also because, um, we can’t afford a live-in nanny, but I still want her to live with us. Seriously. She was a-m-a-z-i-n-g with our kids and I am just so thankful she came with us! Third, we named our trip Holla ’11 because we sent like 50 emails back and forth planning the trip and we always ended the e-mails with some version of Hollllaaaaa. Lastly, I’ve decided that I want to rent a beach house all summer in Florida. One week was not long enough. I think it goes without saying that will never happen, but a girl can dream, right?
Ok, so here’s the day-by-day. If you get bored, just scroll through the pictures!
Day 1- The four Dempseys, Babysitter Lauren (a GODSEND, did I mention that?), and the four Clemens left our house around lunchtime on Friday. We took two cars and ours was packed full. Note to self- need bigger car for long road trip. I was prepared with tons of snacks and an entire bag of “prizes” for the kids. I can’t tell you how perfect they were on the drive. I was worried there was going to be lots of screaming but there was NONE. We stopped in Natchitoches, Louisiana for dinner at Antoon’s on the River. It was such a fun little town; I would love to go back and stay a night or two in one of the cute bed and breakfasts on the river. The town is where the movie Steel Magnolias was filmed, which happens to be one of my favorite movies. It was so fun getting to see the house where Julia Roberts declares her wedding colors to be “blush and bashful”.
We got back in the car and headed to Baton Rouge where we planned to spend the night. The kids fell asleep in the car around their normal bedtime and the rest of the drive was spent having great conversation and listening to our Holla ’11 playlist. Good times. We had lots of fun playing in the hotel room together. Chloe was excited about her first “sleepover” because all of the girls shared a room.
Day 2- We couldn’t check into our beach house until 3pm, so we got to take it easy Saturday morning. Chloe and I took a quick trip to Starbucks (because I was the ONLY coffee drinker on the trip!) and we enjoyed a free breakfast at the hotel. We were on the road by 10am and stopped to eat lunch at Five Guys in D’Iberville, Mississippi. It was my first time ever driving through Mississippi and Alabama, and it was just so fun to see a whole new part of the country.
The kids took their afternoon naps in the car and we drove into Destin around 3pm. On the way in, there is a big whale mural on a building and Chloe looked up at it and said, “I don’t want to get swallowed!” So cute.
We got to the “Coconut Palms” beach house which was sah-weeet. It was a 3 bedroom house with a 2 bedroom MIL suite in the back. In between the two houses was a pool. It had a golf cart that could fit almost all of us, and it was a 1/2 mile drive to the beach. Perfection. Oh, and even better, it was half price because we went before the official start of the summer season. E and I headed off to the grocery store (my first trip to Publix, which my friend Krista, who is from Alabama, always talks about). We had two carts full by the time we left, but because of all the planning it didn’t take that long and we had just enough food for the week. That night we grilled out hotdogs and unpacked. We were all pretty exhausted from the drive and wanted to get some rest before the first day at the beach!
Trey was reading his GQ and didn’t want me to take his picture, so he held it up to block his face. Little did he know, I would not be disappointed with the picture I took. HA! This might be the best picture of the trip… only kidding :)
Day 3- Our first beach day. The guys got up early each morning, loaded the golf cart, and claimed our beach spot for the day. They set up 4 umbrellas, 2 baby pools, and 6 chairs every morning, then they’d come back to get all of us. It was so nice not having to be the one to set up, but E and I did have the privilege of putting sunscreen on each of our two kids every morning while they were setting up. Then, of course, we’d have to do our husband’s backs. By the last day we were SICK. OF. SUNSCREEN.
I was a little worried about how my kids would do with the whole beach/sand/saltwater thing, but they both LOVED it. Chloe and C (the Demsey’s 2 1/2 year old) played so well together and didn’t need much entertaining! The baby pool was the best idea ever. They played in it and with all the sand toys all morning long. Each day we took the babies back to the house with Lauren for naptime and the adults and bigger kids would stay until lunchtime. We would head back to the house for lunch, then usually the bigger kids would nap and we all took turns going back out to the beach or hang out by the pool. Our beach days were super relaxing…I even got to finish a book on the last day!
After our first day at the beach, we left Lauren with 4 sleeping kids and the adults headed to dinner at Tommy Bahama’s. I love this place. We went to the one in Maui a few years ago and I had the best chicken sandwich of my life. I ordered it again and still think it rocks. We ate on the patio and the weather was perfect! Afterwards we went to the movies, which is a luxury these days. It was a great first night in Destin!
Part 2 coming soon…