Mississippi Gulf Vacation

When you think of beach vacation Gulfport or Biloxi, Mississippi is not usually the first location that comes to mind.  It certainly wasn't mine.  But Justin has a client in the area and has been several times and wanted to take us with him when he went back for a meeting.  It happens to only be 3 hours from his parents so with a little planning we arranged to meet them at their for a long weekend beach trip.  

The boys did great on the trip over.  This was our first road trip with a completely potty trained (Eli) toddler and a partially potty trained toddler (Beckett).  I was nervous about how many times we would have to stop but they did great. We seriously made the fastest stops I have ever seen (including a potty break on the side of the road!) 

seriously stuffed as full as can be

We weren't out of Houston yet and Eli wanted to play the bird game. Fish between the toes, I pretend to be a bird and get them.  Over and over. Repeat and Repeat.

We pulled into Gulfport right at lunch time and made a stop at what Southern Living called "One of the Top 10" Seafood Dives on the Gulf.  False advertising. Should have been called "Only serves fried food."  But anyway we were glad to be there and take a break from the car.

hmm.. massages?  Interesting

Eli kept saying over and over. "I want to go to the beach.. the beeeeeeee-ch" the "BEEEEECH". Get it?  Ha!  So went to check in and get our room.  Beckett fell asleep in the car (finally after a 7 hour drive) right when we pulled up so Justin put him down for a nap.  Eli checked out everything in our condo. He loved the big glass window that he could watch everything up and down the coast.

We were going to wait for him to wake up but Eli was dying to go to the beach and climbing the walls.  I looked out and saw a storm moving in so I raced him down hoping to get some time in before the rain.  Justin had to do some work so I got some special "Eli" time with my buddy.  We had a blast!  The storm clouds were amazing over the beach and it was overcast and windy.  

Mommy and her buddy 

looking for sea shells

"washing off the sand"
I have to say that I was apprehensive going in about the beaches. The Texas beaches were quite a shock for me when I moved here and I wasn't sure what to expect.  Surprisingly the sand was white.  The water was much better than Texas.  It was like bay water.  And with the tide out, the boys could wade in the water way out and they loved that.   You could also see your feet, which Mommy loves.  The only negative was that they don't seem to take care of the beach.  There was a lot of trash around.  That was sad.  But the our boys aren't old enough to really want to go out very far and need waves.  It was absolutely perfect for them.

When Gamma and Poppy got there we suited up and headed down to the pool. 

The boys

Poppa and his boys

And then headed down to the beach to check it out together.

Riding to the beach
It was such a beautiful evening.  The temperature was perfect, it was slightly windy, the tide was out, and it was super relaxing.

What you go Poppa?

"catching fish"

Favorite shot.  Look at these 3 boys
Eli gave me a flower
favorite intials

Daddy buried us!

Won't be much longer and they will be TOO big

We had a great dinner in the room and then played super heros!  I brought there capes and masks.  Gamma bought them some new "teeth" and they did their gymnastics and entertained us!

Super Beckett or Super Mator?

The next morning (and every morning) Poppa and Daddy made some "beary" special pancakes.

Then it was off to set up our beach morning.  The boys got to experience Poppa's expert sand castle building, hole digging, and kite flying skills.  They LOVED playing with him and Gamma and Daddy at the beach.  I almost got to sit down for like 15 minutes and it was awesome!  Of course, every few minutes one of them (Daddy) would say - "take a picture" and you know I can't resist.

Climbing Poppa mountain

He loved this!

Poppa did it!

Lunch and a huge nap were followed by a Daddy surprise.. jet skis!  Justin was dying, I mean dying, to take the boys on jet skis.  So we headed down the beach close to the pier to take them on their first ever jet ski ride.  The boys called them "motorcyles" and still do! 

Everybody say "MOTORCYCLES"

Truly you love taking pictures of your children if you will wade out in the water, in your clothes, waist deep for what felt like forever just to get a picture of them close up on the jet skis.  Whew.  

They both loved the jet skis but they didn't love the salt water on their faces.  (like their momma) and fortunately we did the short tide because it didn't take long for them to be over it.  Justin said he was good for like 10 years on that one ;-)

Eli made a friend at the restaurant

What more fun could we have planned?  A waterpark of course!!  They were so excited on Sunday morning while we got ready for slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and more.  

The water park was a blast.  If you ask them their favorite its either the wave pool or the lazy river.  They played hard, took a nap in the chairs, and then played hard again.  I kept my phone in the locker most of the time so only a few pictures but between the slides, spray pads, firetrucks, wave pool, lazy river, pizza, chips, snow cones, and dipping dots it's not hard to imagine the fun they had.  Thanks for treating them to a special day Gamma & Poppa!

wave pool

We had planned on all going to dinner but after the long day, the boys  the adults were tired!  So Gamma and Poppa kept them and played in the room while Justin and I went out for a date night.  This restaurant The Half Shell Oyster House was rated tops in Biloxi and this time we were not disappointed. Amazing.  Probably easily the best oysters I have ever had.   I got the sampler which included charbroiled, bienville, rockfeller, and their special cajun. All were amazing!  That was followed by a seafood stuffed portabella with a side of asparagus.  Yummy.  Justin had a salad that was the best flavors I have ever tasted.  Topped with seared ahi tuna.  The dessert was cinnamon roll bread pudding.  It was so good that we asked for a second to go for Gamma and Big Poppa!

My date

My oysters
After dinner we stopped by a really cool bar called The Filling Station.  It was in an old gas station.  They had old time hand written cash register receipts under the counter on the bar.  It was a great evening together.

I know that some people don't go to Biloxi because they don't gamble but would you know we had a great fun filled vacation there and never set foot in a casino?  We just had too much other fun stuff to do!

Monday morning came to fast and we had to say goodbye to Gamma and Poppa as they headed back to Florida.  We stayed an additional day for Justin's meetings so we did a little shopping while we waited on check in to our hotel.  While Justin was exchanging his sunglasses at Academy, the boys and I had a little football practice :-)

We stayed at the Hampton Inn Biloxi and I was so impressed.  Look at this room!

There was a huge jacuzzi tub in the room.  Um... they loved it.  Yep.  The watched cartoons and relaxed in a bubble bath.  Totally rotten these 2.

relaxing in the room 

watching cartoons

While Dad went to meetings we went down to the beach again, we looked for lizards, we ran wild in the hotel lobby, and played in the bath tub.

where is the lizard???

And before I knew it, it was time to head home.

yes, he is riding the potty to the car

Oh our trip home was not without adventures.  We stopped at Cafe Du Monde for a delicious treat.

The biggest adventure was by far the potty incident.  So we stop twice back to back exits because Eli says he has to go. Both times he went but kept complaining that his tummy hurt.  So we stop again, I take him in, talk to him and work with him. Nothing. Then we get on the interstate and what happens?  We hit traffic from an overturned semi.  Then what happens?  Eli starts to cry about his tummy. Then he starts crying and screaming that he has too.. you know.  There was no where to go.  We are deadlocked 3 lanes on 1-10 west bound.  Justin and I started saying "ok. what are we going do" So we do a first for me.  We pull around traffic, drive down the shoulder, until we find a safe spot to park.  We get out of the little potty, try to shelter it by the passenger toy and put Eli on it.  Yep. He did his business right on the side of the road!  It was so crazy!  Hope to never do it again.

But we made it home safe and sound and happy to be back in our beds.  While we were there, I was blessed to be able to get up each morning, sit on the balcony, and have quiet time.  I turned my Pandora to Christian contemporary and read my devotionals and studied the word.  One morning, I was reading and watching this beautiful sunrise and 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman came on.

My eyes filled with tears listening to the words, I looked them up and I love this part.

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

How the Holy Spirit moved in me that morning.  Isn't that true.  Each morning when the sun comes up, its a new chance for the day.  A clean slate.  Its easy to praise God.   As the day passes, life comes flooding in.  Stress. Kids. Bills. House. All the things that can take our joy, sometimes we aren't still praising when the evening comes.  I love this.  I want to live each day and wake up praising.  I want to praise through the day. And still be praising when the evening comes.

The Riley's
The Riley FamilyComment