Salty Summer Memories

Originally we had planned the fastest trip to the beach ever.  Arrive on Friday after driving 11 hours, leave on Monday.  And then my genius always traveling, never at home, hubby realized we had enough points to fly there a day early and enough hotel points to score an extra night before meeting up with his family.  The addition of an extra day and a half gave us an amazing, perfect amount of time, trip to our favorite beach in the world.. 30a!  

We flew in on Wednesday night and rented what Eli said was "an awesome race car."  In fact, he used one of my favorite of his phrases "Let me get this straight, this is our car???" when we picked it up at the airport.

helping me pack
headed to the airport 

a little dinner because we were delayed 

my seat companion 

our Dodge Charger

We were delayed so got in pretty late. The boys had a good snooze on the way to the hotel and Dad was able to transfer them in.  As we were putting them into bed, Eli's eyes popped open and said "are we are going crabbing now?"  And his daddy's heart was full of joy!  My two adventurous boys headed down to the beach with their flashlights, ate pizza, and stayed out until almost midnight!  I crawled in with Beckett, snuggled up, opened the balcony door to hear the waves and enjoyed reading my new book.  Summer bliss.

Of course though, that meant my early riser was up and at them at 6am!  While our night owls slept in, I got some special time with my boy on the beach.  What a beautiful morning!

"mom this is incredible!" 

By then my other boys were up and the four of us had such a sweet time together. 

After a full morning it was time to check out and head to meet up with Big Poppa, Gamma, Emmaline, and Aunt Lauren.  They didn't even make it out of the parking lot.  And slept 2 hours. 

And that was the start of a great family vacation.  We spent as much time on the beach over the next couple of days that we could.  Hit up the pool some and all slept sound at night!

Big Poppa is famous for his sand castle skills.  Justin remembers even as a child the hours and hours spent making the most incredible creations.  This trip was no exception.  

strawberry moon on the beach 

Some even were buried in the sand. 

The grandkiddos!

A surprising turn of events for us was Beckett enjoying the ocean.  He has always been a little fearful and not too interested.  More of a pool guy, but this time he LOVED it.  Could not keep him out.  The water was incredibly beautiful, clear, no jelly fish or seaweed so that was a bonus too!

While we were there, Big Poppa and Gamma took the grands on the Destin Pirate ship.   The boys LOVED it.  They went out into the harbor, played games, found treasure, fired a cannon, and had the BEST time.  And while they were gone, Mommy and Daddy got some time to enjoy Seaside.  We leisurely shopped, ate, drank, and then enjoyed a little kid free time at the beach.  Ahoy!

Is there a better place to spend Father's Day than at the beach??   Justin and Poppa opened their gifts a little early.  Mainly because Justin was SO EXCITED to see "Chubbie's" on the box  He has wanted a pair for so long and we surprised him with a Chubbie's swim suit for this trip. 

I snuck out on Sunday morning to attend church.  Such a great time of worship with the most beautiful view.  How can your heart not sing praises when surrounded by God's glory on display!  

Hope on the beach
When I got back, I surprised Justin with the delivery of a YOLO YAK on Sunday morning.  I even conquered my fear of the ocean and went out with him.  I can't remember how long its been since I actually swam in the ocean past waist deep.  It was so fun.  The boys thought it was pretty awesome too. 


Beach adventures with DAD 

And then the sun was setting on our last day.  As we tried to squeeze in every sweet moment that we could before the last of the sunset faded, I wished for a moment that I could freeze time .. just to linger in the gorgeous pink light, salty air, and joy on the faces of all my boys. 

 And that night, we got in the car and started driving home.  But we didn't just bring home precious memories, we also brought home a new member of our family that Mommy picked up at the souvenir shop.  Meet "Shark Bait" our tiny little turtle friend!

There is something about summer that creates the sweetest vacation memories.  With Justin traveling so much for work, getting to spend 5 days together as a sweet family of four made this vacation even more special.  Time together is the true treasure.    

Thanks to Big Poppa and Gamma for great memories and lots of love!

The Riley's