Doubly Sweet May

Since Alabama holds such a special place in our hearts, you will find it no surprise that it was "doubly sweet" to go back twice in one month!

We try to make it back to the beach once a year.  Seriously as soon as Christmas was over Beckett started asking when we were going to the beach.  We debated, shopped online, and went back and forth on where to go, when to go, and how to make it happen balancing my job, Justin's job, school schedule, and of course finances!   It came as a huge surprise that the week before Mother's Day Justin said "if the whether is good next Tuesday, let's head for the beach!"  Because it was technically still the off season he was able to get a GREAT deal on a place we had always wanted to stay but was always well outside the beach budge.  Squeals of excitement on Tuesday morning when we checked the beautiful weather forecast and decided to head out Wednesday after we picked the boys up from school.   I was trying to keep the packing on the sly and we were going to surprise them when we picked them up but Beckett was too quick for that.  He took one look in a bag, grabbed out his sunglasses, and screamed "Eli!  We are going to the BEACH!!!"

Dinner in Lafayette on the way over and an overnight stay in Baton Rouge...

Dinner and dancing at a great cajun place 

We are ready to roll! 

And by noon on Thursday we were at the beach!  Our first stop?  Our favorite restaurant.. Lulu's! 

Favorite people. Favorite place. 

Makes. Me. Drool. 
Grocery store.  Key pick up.  and we FINALLY made it (according to Eli.. longest. wait. ever).

such big helpers!  putting up the groceries 
Time to hit the beach.... and the "daisy" (aka lazy) river!

Sunset. Rooftop. Lazy River = a summer trifecta
And the best part?  Waking up to do it all over again.  And of course the early birds woke up to a surprise from the night owls... crabs!  

A little breakfast.. a little hot tub (on. the balcony. yes!) and we were ready for the beach.

Love these two beach brothers


If you want to know how much I love you.. count the waves.. 

Boy mom beach fun!! 

My 3 guys.. hard at work 

As Beckett says "the is the yife" 
Justin's cousins own the FloraBama & yacht club so we ate lunch there one day.  The boys loved being on the bay and we found a "creature" and some great shells. 

a crab friend! 

This view for lunch.
On Friday afternoon Gamma & Big Poppa came over for a quick visit.  We had a great afternoon on the beach.

Sandcastles with the master

rocking to some beach tunes 

snack time!
And added bonus to a visit?  Date night for mom and dad!  Celebrating Mother's Day with a nice dinner and night out?? Yes! 

shouldn't all date nights end at the FloraBama?
The next morning the boys were in for a treat!  Justin's family generously let us grab some jet skis and the boys headed out for some fun.. and the girls got some sun!

For lunch we hit up the Hangout where the food was disappointing but the boys had so much fun at the "foam party!"


um. Where's Eli mom? 

Can I take this bubble home?? 
Seriously. The beach is exhausting...

Justin said "the best night of my life"  It's been so long since he fell asleep snuggling!
And of course my sweet boys spoiled me for Mother's Day!

On Sunday, John invited us to join him at Worship on the Water .. the church plant at the FloraBama.  It was a great morning!  Such a testimony to the church being a community of believers seekign God and worshipping wherever God sets aside space.  It was real and raw defined by radical grace and preaching life transformation.  If you are visiting Alabama beaches this summer join them to worship on the water.   A few days later after we returned home I got the sweetest Mother's Day picture in my email.

And my special Mother's Day treat??  Danny's fried mushrooms on the way home.  Returned home without the roof of my mouth but ever so worth it!

This surprise trip happened to be back to back with an already planned Alabama trip.. so we were home 3 days before the boys and I got on a flight (our Poppy is so sweet) and headed back to Alabama.  You see.. Poppy hadn't seen his boys since Christmas and we were due a visit!  

Flying with these crazy kiddos 

locked in and ready to go.  
waiting anxiously on their poppy 

two at a time.. no problem!
Stopping for lunch at Jim N' Nicks.. sounds perfect to me!

Do I have the cutest little sister or what?  The best lunch date! 

Cheese biscuits.  Bites of heaven in your mouth!

Thank goodness someone else is paying! 
We were able to stay for 4 days and we filled them full of family, fun, farm, and friends.. 

Malachi's baby chicks for 4H 
Camping out (in the living room!)  
Helping poppy feed the sheep 

And meeting his little lamb born a twin.. Beckett meet Beckett  
Treehouse adventures with Poppy 
And I found plenty of girl time too! 


cooking.  Seeing my Ma with my sweet sister reminds me so much how lucky I am to have had a grandmother who always took time to let me "help" 

Bath time!! 
And these two littles.  It's a good sign they fight to sit in my lap right? 
And always my favorite... Ma & Dave time!  We had so many laughs in the kitchen.  They loved my new French cheese board skills and the were the best sous chefs helping me make dinner. 

And the cherry on top?? Getting to see my best friend Nikki for lunch with her sweet girls on the way back to the airport!  

Still trying to convince them to move in next door to us!
And then these little travelers were headed home...

Yep.  He can find the terminal and the gate.. little smarty pants 
But Poppy & Dee Dee's house sure is exhausting!

The gift of family time and lots of fun?? Alabama is truly sweet for us!  

The Riley's