Our 2021 Destin beach trip.

We spent last week at the beach! It’s been a few years since we’ve been to our happy place. We squeezed in lots of fun things on this vacation, and the best part about it all was we took our time! It was the most relaxed, chill, no worries kind of vacation! Ready for a photo dump?

Monday, Aug 9

The drive from Cincinnati to Destin is about 11 hours. With this trip being our six year old’s first long drive, we decided to stop at a hotel. Stopping was the best decision ever, we had no time constraint, we got there when we got there. During our drive, I had a few surprise car gifts for Hadley to break up the time. She had already had a bucket full of things to do already, plus her iPad, but these were extra things in case she needed some distractions. Car surprise #1 were the ever so popular pop-its! I don’t know a kid that doesn’t like these things!

We drove for seven hours, with a few rest area stops, and finally stopped in Birmingham, Alabama. The hotel was beautiful, and the staff was so polite! The general manager came out to the pool while we were swimming, and gave us bottled water!

Hadley was super excited to have a bed all to herself!

Tuesday, Aug 10

Woke up and worked out in the hotel gym. Ran on the treadmill for twenty minutes. Kevin and Hadley just chilled in the hotel room. After my workout, I hopped in the shower to get ready to leave for the next drive of our trip. Kevin and Hadley went down to get breakfast while I was finishing up. The hotel breakfast was amazing, they had everything you could ask for which was crazy, especially for a complimentary breakfast during a pandemic! Hadley sat with me while I ate my breakfast, and Kevin packed up the truck.

On the road again! We only had a four hour drive to Destin which seemed super short! We were all pumped and ready to see the ocean! The next car surprise was from Grandma Gail, she brought her a box of goodies for the trip.

We arrived! Hadley was soo excited, she wanted to run straight to the beach! But we had to check in and unload the truck. You know, the not so fun part of vacation. I wish I would’ve taken more photos of the condo, it was so nice. Hadley had bunk beds to sleep on, she slept on the top bunk every night. She loved having her own little area.

We took no time to unload, changed into our bathing suits, and hit the beach! The water was gorgeous! I couldn’t get over how clear it was! It took Hadley about a day and a half to get used to the salt water, and the waves that would almost knock her down as you walked into the ocean. We brought her life jacket which was the best idea, she loved floating in the ocean and not having to worry about not touching.

After the beach, Hadley and Kevin checked out the pool while I went up to the condo to freshen up a little bit. Hadley could swim in a pool everyday all day of her life. She loves the water!

Wednesday, Aug 11

Worked out at the condo gym, we had it to ourselves! Hadley was so cute and tried a few of the machines out while I ran on the treadmill. I hope I encourage her that exercise is an important part of life. After our workout, enjoyed breakfast on the lanai overlooking the beach!

First full day at the beach! We came prepared! Beach toys, life jacket, umbrellas, and beach chairs.

For dinner, we went to Fudpuckers Gator Beach. They had live alligators you could feed while you waited for your table. It was a long wait, but fun while you waited. Super kid friendly!

After dinner, we went swimming in the pool and hung out on the lanai just listening to the ocean. I could listen to that sound all day everyday.

Thursday, Aug 12

My little workout partner! I worked out 5 out of the 7 days we were there full days. Some days I would do the Nike app in the condo, and other days I would go to the gym. I didn’t make it to the beach to walk/run, but maybe next time.

Waking up to this view every morning was the best. I couldn’t imagine having a condo without a beach view.

Our little beach babe! She adapted so well to the beach life. We found her a hat to help with her face getting so hot, it helped so much with her little cheeks. She’s a hot box!

We had a routine for the most part, beach all day then late afternoon I would go up and get ready for dinner while these two swam in the pool.

Some nights, we would eat in the condo instead of going out. After we ate and showered, we headed out for some crab hunting! Hadley was most excited about this. Walking along the beach at night was so nice and peaceful, and the condo looked so pretty all lit up. We saw so many little crabs, and one huge mama crab! I shined the flashlight on the big mama one and it crawled straight into the ocean. It was such a fun night!

Friday, Aug 13

Today was the dolphin cruise! We were up early and ready to roll. We decided to do the morning cruise so it would be less hot, and we’d still have time to go to the beach afterwards.

Waiting for the cruise to start was hot hot, even mid-morning! And Miss Hadley wore her dolphin earrings for the dolphin cruise.

We saw the harbor, Crab Island, and along with the dolphins, we saw some sharks! It was hard to take photos of the dolphins, they were fast.

The water is just gorgeous, and so peaceful to watch. We loved the cruise, the breeze was just enough so you weren’t sweating your booty off.

After the cruise, we walked around a little bit and found this super fun activity to do for kids. We were soo surprised Hadley did it, but she did and loved it! She walked into this deflated giant bubble, they blew it up with her inside of it which she thought was going to be scary but wasn’t. Then the man walked her into the pool, and there she goes! Floating around with other kids in bubbles, and as you can see by the photos nothing but smiles.

After the dolphin cruise, we still had some time to go to the beach! We were so glad we brought her life jacket from the lake, she loved floating in the ocean.

Just like every day, pool time after the beach!

Saturday, Aug 14

Started off the morning with a workout in the condo, did the Nike app.

Clear blue skies, no filter! Another beautiful beach day!

For dinner tonight we went to Lulu’s! Out of all the places we went to eat, this was at the top of the list! Being Jimmy Buffet fans and all, we thought it was pretty neat that this place is owned by his sister Lucy! They had a live one man band playing, the entire place was open so you could feel the ocean breeze, had an outdoor bar area, with sand and access to the beach. It wasn’t very crowded outside, because a storm was rolling in. It was awesome though, and we loved it!

Sunday, Aug 15

Went for donuts for breakfast this morning! The line for this popular place, The Donut Hole, was very very long, like out the door long and this was before 9am. So we decided to do takeout and eat at the condo. They were delicious!

Beach day! Towards the end of our day, Tropical Storm Fred winds started rolling in. The winds were so strong the sand was blowing against our bodies and it hurt! Floaties and pool chairs were flying all over the place, so we headed indoors.

Since the storm turned our beach day short, we went bowling before dinner. This place was called Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill and it was so neat inside. Everything was ocean themed, and it felt like you were bowling inside an aquarium.

After bowling, we went to dinner at the The Back Porch! Food wise, this was our favorite place. The fish was so good and fresh. LuLu’s was great for the ambience, and the food was good too. But the Back Porch food was very good and another place right on the water. Just love eating with the ocean breeze flowing in! We loved hanging out on the beach while we waited for our table.

Monday, Aug 16

Our last full day before we had to leave, Tropical Storm Fred had other plans for us. They closed the beaches, and pools, it was a double red flag day. We took our time in the morning, I worked out, ate breakfast on the lanai, took showers, and took a long walk on the beach. The tide came up to where everyone sits on the beach!

We went to a Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park! This place was huge, and totally worth a visit. Side note, notice the surfers behind the last photo? Double red flag, and surfers were out there! The lifeguards kept coming by and telling them to get out, then they would get right back in. Anyways, we saw a show about seals, and dolphins! And saw so many other ocean animals. It was a very cool place!

After the Gulfarium, we ate at Rockin Tacos for an early dinner. On our last night, we stayed in so we could pack and get everything ready for the road the next day.

Tuesday, Aug 17

On the morning before we left, the beach was just gorgeous! I guess Tropical Storm Fred busted out of there in just one day.

On the road again! Car surprise was more pop-its! We decided to drive for eight hours until Bowling Green, KY. We stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat dinner, haven’t eaten there in ages. I loaded up on pancakes, my favorite there!

The hotel was not as nice as the one in Birmingham. It’s a long story, but let’s just say Kevin isn’t in charge of booking things anymore haha! The indoor pool was okay, we let Hadley swim for just an hour or so. It was already late enough, but she just can’t resist a pool. Oh, and I totally forgot to give her this underwater camera for the beach and pool in Florida! She used it in the pool at the hotel, and got the hang of it.

We had the best time on this trip! Would definitely recommend Destin, and we plan to go back again sometime! I loved how we took our time getting there, had zero plans while we were there, just went with the flow everyday and did whatever. I loved not having a real plan everyday. I did do some research and planning beforehand and had a few places in mind to check out, but nothing set in stone. Hadley loved the beach, and just like anything she does she adapts so well to whatever environment she is in and is such a happy easy going kiddo. Love these memories we’ve created for her and us as a family!

From the past few weekends…

Happy Monday everyone! Catching back up from the last few weeks. We’ve been busy enjoying summer, going to the lake, marking off our Summer Bucket List, and so many other things. I can’t believe July is almost over, this Summer is just flying by soo fast. Love it, but also hate it. Here are some different collages of photos from what we’ve been up to…

Part of our Summer Bucket List was to visit the Mt. Airy Forest Treehouse. We didn’t even know this place existed until I started looking up things to do this Summer. We had the whole place to ourselves, it was so cute. Hadley couldn’t believe how big it was! Afterwards, we stopped at a picnic bench and she drew the treehouse in her journal. And then we played at the playground for a little bit, it was a great day!

We went over to Kevin’s friends pool and swam with him and his family. The pool felt amazing! Afterwards we grilled out, dodging the super fast storm that rolled in. His wife made homemade ice cream, so so good! The Thursday of July 4th weekend, I went to Kroger in the morning and so glad I did. It was already crowded, and going to the store for our family for 10 days at the lake should count as a workout in itself. The cart was so full I could barely push it! We went out to dinner after work that day, and Hadley wearing Dad’s hat at dinner.

Friday of July 4th weekend, we went to a graduation pool party! The kids had a blast, and being around this pool brought back so many memories of our old house and our pool. It was great to see everyone, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!

July 4th weekend at the lake, started off with the cove party! The house at the end of our cove puts on a band every year, and half the lake anchors in our cove, swims, hangs out, it’s a great time. Our dock was a hot spot, we had so many kids we didn’t know jumping off our high jump!

Sunday was the golf tournament! We came in second place, it was a scramble so pretty easy and fun! It was hot hot hot though, we were sweating our butts off by the end of the tourney. Brady showing off with the winners cape / hat afterwards. Came back to the lake and swam, it felt so good to cool off.

Grandma took the girls to the Ark Encounter for the day. I drove back home for a few days for work, and then came back for the weekend. Everyone else stayed all week long. The big kids took the pontoon boat out by themselves time, and the battery died (because nobody uses it anymore!), and they had to get a tow back to the dock. The pictures the kids took on their phones were hysterical.

Bonfire night! Hadleys first time roasting s’mores. She liked it, so she says. S’mores are so delicious, yet so filling. It was a gorgeous night for a bonfire!

Thursday of last week, we went to the West Chester Clock Tower, for a concert outside. It was nice to just sit, chill, talk, and enjoy live music. Hadley loved the snow cones, people watching, looking at all the different dogs people brought, and playing hangman with Grandma.

Another Summer Bucket List item marked off the list, watch the Parent Trap movie under a fort! I printed off a few “camp” like things, taped them to the TV stand, made a fort with old sheets, and Hadley was in heaven. Super simple things like this, makes her so so happy.

Well there you have it, just a few photos of what we’ve been up too! It’s been a pretty great Summer so far. As always, thanks for reading!

Memorial Day Weekend 2021.

Saturday. This was the only photo I took all day! We were frozen, and didn’t even make it to the dock. After Hadley went to sleep we went down to our cousins for a bonfire.

Sunday. In the morning I worked out in the basement, and then edged the pathway we use for the gator to go up and down the hill to the dock.

Sunday. The girls were absolutely crazy for swimming while it was 60 degrees outside! The water was warmer than it was outside though. We were in jackets, pants, and socks/shoes!

Sunday. My nephew Max playing with their dog Buckley. And these two little ones put on sweatshirts over their wet bathing suits to go on the boat. I don’t know how they weren’t totally frozen!

Sunday. Meanwhile, the adults in the back of the boat bundled up!

Sunday. We went on a golf cart ride to feed the horses, since the gator is currently broken.

Sunday. My niece Maisie has a tiny dog that has the longest tongue! I bought all the kids pop-its, and only the girls were really interested. They popped them in the garage and Papa came out to watch.

Monday. My nephew Max and his lovely little kid smiles with his friends.

Monday. Out of the entire weekend, this was the best weather day we had! I never put on my bathing suit, I just couldn’t with how chilly it was. After lunch time, it was starting to get warm but I still just kept on what I had. Selfies with my niece Maisie, lots of boat rides, chilling on the dock, and just hanging out. It was a great start to the summer!

Little miss Hadley was exhausted, she has so much fun but will take a few weekends to get used to all the fun!

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend, and remember what Memorial Day really means.

From the weekend.

Friday. We had two days just us two. We started the weekend out by playing with water balloons and relaxing in the front driveway. Water, sun, and happiness.

Friday. We grilled out steak and broccoli on the back deck.

Saturday. Surprised Hadley with a trip to the Zoo. Every kid just loves going to the Zoo, no matter how many times we go. She knows so much about the animals, and she was the map guide deciding how to get to each animal she picked out. She loves to get her face painted, unicorn for the win!

Sunday. The big kids came over in the morning, and they both got to see Hadley play her softball game. Brady helped Coach Dad by being the catcher, and Natalie and my parents were cheering her on!

It was a great weekend! Looking forward to making soo many more memories this Summer!

From the weekend.

Friday. Started out the morning with a braided pony tail for Field Day! She was so excited to be out of uniform two days in a row last week. Go team purple!

Friday morning. Worked out with my daily routine, went out on the back deck for some fresh air.

Friday evening. After I did a huge Clicklist order, still had to go into Kroger for the essentials for a party that serves hamburgers. Ketchup and mustard. Oh, and vodka.

Saturday morning. Hadley had her first softball game on Saturday! It’s very interesting to watch these little ones trying to figure out a softball game. Figuring out what helmets fit each girl is the most stressful part! haha Even big sis Natalie helped out and did a little catching for Coach Dad.

Saturday afternoon. We celebrated Natalie turning 14 a little early, her birthday isn’t until the end of the month but she’s been wanting a party with family for so long, we finally made it work!

The birthday girl had a few requests:

  • Cake pops
  • Oatmeal raisin cookies
  • Red velvet cupcakes
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Popcorn bark
  • Lemonade

Our Natalie is going to be 14 years old, and I just can’t believe it. She has the best smile, and had a great birthday celebration with the family. I hope she knows how much we all love her and love to celebrate her! Cheers to Natalie and turning fourteen!

Easter recap.

Our Easter started a day early this year, Kevin had to work on Sunday so the Easter bunny came Saturday morning for the kids. The baskets pictured above (left to right) are Brady, Natalie, and Hadley. If you watched my stories on Instagram, you’ll know that Brady got a gas gift card since he’s driving now, and the girls got more “things” instead of a gift card and candy.

Hadley and Natalie were the first to find their baskets. Brady the teenager slept the longest and found his later which I didn’t get a picture of.

Hadley had mini pancakes, and a cinnamon roll on these little bunny plates and cups for breakfast.

After dinner Saturday night, we colored eggs. I don’t care how old kids get, I feel like every kid loves to color eggs at any age. I just love watching them!

Easter morning, Miss Hadley was ready since 9:30am! We didn’t leave until 11am! She was super excited all weekend, she loves holidays and getting together with her cousins and family.

After three years of being a firefighter wife, I’ve just now started to get used to being solo on big holidays / events. I gave the kids the option of either going to church, or seeing Dad before we started our day and they all opted to see Dad which I pretty much knew would be the choice. So we visited Dad at the firehouse Easter morning! We even brought my favorite Easter tradition recipe of pistachio bread. Shockingly enough, all of the kids like this bread!

We started the day out at my parents house, it was the most gorgeous day to be outside. The kids were so happy to run around, play chase, and swing on the swing!

The kids are getting so big it’s crazy! Life just flies by.

After my parents, we went to our cousin Emily’s house. I didn’t take many photos here, but the kids had a blast here too. We also celebrated Elyse’s birthday! By the time we got home, Hadley was passed out cold.

We had a great Easter holiday, the weather could not have been more perfect the entire weekend. It was sunny, warm, not humid, and just beautiful! And great to see all the family!