Goodbye Wedding, Hello Beach Vacation

 The day after the wedding, family vacation started.  The plan was for the boys and I to go to the beach for a week with Dee Dee, Poppy, and GG for our now annual beach trip.  Daddy had to go back to work but first he was able to take one day to spend with us before heading back to Texas. 

On Sunday morning, Justin and I got up early and went to pick up the boys at the Riley cabin.  We were anxious to get on the road so Justin could have some beach time, but too little exhausted ring bearers had other ideas.  They slept until 9:30!

sleepy heads
As soon as they woke up we hit the road for Gulf Shores.  All the way down we debated where to go first. Justin had never been to Lulu's before so I insisted that we stop.  I had a hard time convincing him to stop, and then a hard time convincing him to ever leave!

enjoying the sand and super heroes 
post wedding relaxation .. check!! 
Then on to our hotel.  We stayed in Orange Beach last year and this year opted for The Beach Club at Fort Morgan.  It's a little far removed from everything but has so many amenities for kiddos that you never have to leave really.  As soon as we got checked in and our bags in the room, the boys were ready to head out.  

The Beach Club - that's my little man down there 

Heading out with daddy 
Beckett wanted beach first, Eli wanted pool.  Justin and I split up so B and I headed to the beach.  Unfortunately it was sprinkling and raining on and off so we didn't last long.  Daddy and Eli went the pool and found the inside pool.  It quickly became their favorite pool.  Later that night we relaxed while we waited on Poppy to arrive.

take out pizza from the restaurant on site 

Ipad time with daddy 
The morning came to soon and Justin was up early and headed home.  Poppy and I spent the whole day with the boys while we waited on Dee Dee to arrive.  

Packing up to head down 

Yeah!  Beach time 

Eli found this board in the closet and it quickly became his favorite 
The week really began.  The boys liked the beach on and off.  They are definitely not pack it up and stay out all day guys.  About an hour maybe a little more and they are ready for the pool.   We had some great times on the beach though!  Eli fell in love with riding the waves or "surfing" as he called it with Poppy.  They "tolerated" the sand on and off.  Sometimes played well but other times used the tried and true mommy method, a bucket of water always on hand for washing off the sand.  

Day 2.  Why are you taking so long?? 

Getting ready to "surf"  
Poppy Time!!

Happy wave rider

catching "fings" in my net

GG under the umbrella with her ipod

my sweet boys

poppy and his buddies 

taking a break in the shade

playing with poppy and dee dee 

snack break! 
searching for the missing batman - they found it!
didn't like his feet dirty!
We seriously swam in every pool and body of water The Beach Club had to offer.  Outdoor, kiddie, indoor, hot tub, little pool, big pool.  These kids could have swam for hours.  And they even got in practice without their puddle jumpers.   I loved my new underwater camera.  I was so nervous to take it under but it worked great.  We had so much fun and taking pictures and videos with it.  And so nice not to worry about getting it wet. 

The Beach Club had a schedule of fun activities the boys could do.  A couple of nights they had movies by the pool with glow sticks and treats.  Another night the boys made smores on the beach.

One of the boys favorite parts?  The golf cart tram rides.  This "bus" took you around parts of The Beach Club.  One night we took it to the playground and dinner.  Another day the boys and I took it to get ice cream.  

waiting on a ride 

a little shopping while we waited at the ice cream place

ice cream is even better on vacation!!
We did leave to visit two favorite local spots while we were there.  One afternoon the big pool and indoor pool were closed due to "accidents" so it was the perfect afternoon to head back to Lulu's so both Poppy and Dee Dee could get their Lulu fix. The wait was a little over 2 hours.  We put our name in and then headed up the street to The Track for go carts, rides, and bumper boats.  The boys had a blast and I even got some racing in.

GG and her friend Sage 

uh on.  Watch out!

Back to Lulu's with only about a 30 minute wait.. perfect timing!

grandparents relaxing 

finished all his fish 

sweet sugar for mommy at Lulu's 

Another favorite was the Pirate and Princess Breakfast at The Hangout.  This was the first time we tried it and it was a success! The boys were a little nervous at first about the pirates but after a few beignets each they were ready for the treasure hunt.  The pirates took them on a treasure hunt and the kids found the treasure chest on the stage.  They took it over to the steps and the pirates asked them what they needed and Beckett shouted "a key!"  Then Eli spotted the key on the end of the flag and he let Eli use the key to open the box.  They both came away with treasure, eye patches, and bandanas.  They LOVED it!

Loved playing at The Hangout 


bumped his little head 

the best I could get

checking out the "real" pirates

Dee Dee got in the pirate fun too!

So cute!! I mean.. Sage and GG of course

not real sure about his pirate

hunting treasure

found the chest

Eli spotted the key 

opening the box

my favorite picture.. hands down. 


We truly enjoyed and lived up every minute of this time off and away together.   The first part of the week with just us was fun and relaxing, the second part of the weekend the 3 foster kids came too and it was fun but crazy town!  8 year old, three 3 year olds, and a 16 month old not to mention a 14 year old and her best friend, 3 adults in a 3 bedroom condo.  I so wish I could share all the pictures of the boys piled up on the couch bed, eating together, playing together, and the general hilariousness of that many kids but for privacy reasons I can't.  I wouldn't have traded it for the world.  Those kids had the BEST time together and thought it all a great adventure.  I needed a vacation from my vacation after 2 full days with all the kids.  Talk about ALL HANDS ON DECK!  

turtle rides

late night Beckett took the babies stroller 

Poppy's big helper wrestling the turtle to the room (at 10:30pm) 

lunch on the balcony 
conversation and waffles for lunch with Dee Dee 
After 5 wonderful, sandy, sunny, crazy, fun-filled, exhausting days we were headed back to Texas.  Someone special was waiting for us at the airport. 

airplane ipad time 

sticker book 

looking for daddy 

We found him!! 

Daddy we missed you SO MUCH!!! 
Traveling is awesome, the beach is great, but both boys woke up the next day and said "Mommy! I'm so glad we are home!"  We are so grateful for the time at home.  Wonderful family, special grandparents, and all the memories of this summer fun.  When the boys got home, they worked hard on the annual vacation memory jars.  I would love to show you the finished product but they just keep wanting to play with the Gulf Shores sand, treasure and pirates we brought home.  

“I'm no longer a child and I still want to be, to live with the pirates. Because I want to live forever in wonder. The difference between me as a child and me as an adult is this and only this: when I was a child, I longed to travel into, to live in wonder. Now, I know, as much as I can know anything, that to travel into wonder is to be wonder. So it matters little whether I travel by plane, by rowboat, or by book. Or, by dream. I do not see, for there is no I to see. That is what the pirates know. There is only seeing and, in order to go to see, one must be a pirate.” - Kathy Acker 

The Riley's