Florida p1: Getting it all in the car is half the battle

From Saturday, April 26:

While most of Nashville was cheering on Marathon runners, we were cheering on Brent as he shoved our large house into our minivan.  (Or “mini” as Lilli calls it, which sounds ever so much cooler and hipper.)  The amount of junk you have to take with you for five nights away with a baby/toddler is ridiculous.  Everything from her high chair to the baby gate and pack and play was shoved in the back.  And of course a stroller, toys, beach chair.  By the time you get it all in there you question why you wanted to leave to begin with.  We had already gotten spoiled traveling with Lilli and being past this stage! IMG_5608

On our way to drop Pippin off at The Farm we got stuck in a big festival in Franklin and it took us forever to get there.  He stayed at an awesome doggie resort where he got lots of personal attention, creekside walks every day and a nighttime story.  Seriously.  With his age and some of his aging issues, we just didn’t want him in a doggie daycare situation or boarded in a small kennel, so Pippin had a fabulous time.  Then we got lost getting out of there and ended up WAY out, so our trip was delayed from the beginning! IMG_5616

The girls had some fun in the backseat though! And Abbi pretty much always travels with a ball.  She may be some sort of sports kid one day… IMG_5623

Our first pit stop was the Alabama visitor center.  The big rocketship always makes it a favorite, and it had taken us forever to get to this point and we all needed a break.  It didn’t take long for Lilli and Abbi to get in a fight about throwing sticks through the fence, so Lilli threw a fit and wouldn’t be in any pictures. IMG_4459

Once she discovered the “free magazine store”, aka the tourist center, she recovered.  She got a ton of brochures to help plan future trips.  And us ladies posed as astronauts. IMG_5653                                       Abbi did much better in the car (on the way down) than we anticipated.  After our stop at the rest area she took a good nap, and woke up right around Birmingham where we had some lunch at McDs.  Her naps worked into the day well.  She is not great in the car, at all, so it was  a huge relief that her bad spells were shorter than they could have been. IMG_4475

It is a long, long drive.  We were all getting bored and restless by the time we got to Florida.  Abbi woke up from a nap not too long after we got into Florida and that last thirty or so minutes when everyone is about over it felt pretty long… IMG_4489

We rented a beach house in Grayton Beach, near Seaside.  Grayton is great because it’s surrounded by a national protected beach, and outside of the busyness of Seaside but less than five minutes from all those attractions.  This was our view from one of our decks.  Just one row of house between us and the beach. IMG_5667

And the view from the kitchen window.  I could totally get used to that view while washing dishes! Our walk to the beach was basically just around the block, and the beach is just shared by this small subdivision, so very few people out at the beach, and most of the houses were empty while we were there during off season. IMG_5669

We checked out the awesome house and then got the girls into swimsuits and ran down to the beach a little while before sunset.  Brent took a lot of great pictures, so I’ll post those separately. We came back, loaded up and headed to Publix for food and groceries for the week.  Our plan was to cook lunch and breakfast, and eat out for dinner.  I’d brought a lot of groceries with us, but didn’t want to mess with cooler of all our tons of milk and frozen stuff we’d want for quick meals during the week.  We grabbed some food from the warm counter at Publix and headed home for dinner. We brought a bunch of hangers to unpack (I get so tired of wrinkled vacation clothes) and Lilli unpacked all her treasures in her closet, the drawers under her bunk beds and even hung some things on the hooks in her room.  The girl moved in.  She also packed some of the most random things you could imagine – everything from ping pong paddles (there was no table there) to Easter eggs, toys she had never played with at home, one purse with nothing but candy in it and about a dozen stuffed animals. IMG_5707

Tucked in for bed! She had giant bunk beds, and each bunk bed had its own flat screen TV/DVD player at the foot of it.  She also loved the little reading light right above her head.  This house was seriously so awesome! …..to be continued……. IMG_5710

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