What we bought at Buc-ee’s.

Have you ever heard of Buc-ee’s before? I haven’t heard of the place until a few months ago when I saw it all over social media and the internet. I didn’t know too much about the place but was curious about it for sure. We were on our way to Florida, which you can read more about here and here, but stopped at a hotel in Alabama first. Since we couldn’t check into the hotel until late afternoon, we decided to make a pit stop to the Athens, Alabama location!

I wish I would’ve taken more pictures of the place. It is ginormous! Buc-ee’s is a massive gas station with 90 something gas pumps, 50 something bathroom stalls that is manned 24/7, 20 something cash registers, 4 Icee machines, and you can purchase snacks, drinks, and fresh food made daily. They also have the world’s largest car wash, the one we went to was closed but would’ve totally done that too! We spent around $100 there but could’ve easily spent way more.

Here is a rundown of what we bought!

BUC-EE’S PILLOW – Hadley picked out this pillow over a hat. It’s right up her alley, tie-die, and colorful.

BUC-EE’S TSHIRT – Kevin picked out this shirt, I like it!

NAPKIN HOLDER – I picked out this napkin holder, and I thought the napkins were the normal dinner size, but they are a little bigger than a cocktail napkin. Wasn’t a huge fan of the salt and pepper shakers because we don’t have any green in our house, but I’ll still use it!

BUC-EE’S SIPPY CUP – Had to get Huxley a little something! And all the prices were very reasonable, which is why we easily spent $100.

BUC-EE’S WAX BOTTLES – Hadley picked out the most random type of candy, these things are gross! But she was happy, so we got them. The selection of things here is overwhelming, there is so much to choose from! They are known for their beaver nuggets, which is a caramel coated corn puff, and I wish I would’ve snagged a bag!

BUC-EE’S KEYCHAIN – Hadley loves keychains! She put this on her travel bookbag as soon as she got in the car.

You have to get a picture with the beaver himself!

Buc-ee’s is like no other gas station you will ever go to! If you are ever near one, set aside some time to go in and check it out. It’s amazing. The employees are super kind too! They just built one an hour from where we live in Ohio, and I want to check it out so bad!

Have you been to Buc-ee’s? I’d love to know what other locations are like!

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Our 2023 Summer Beach trip – Days 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9

I recapped the first half of our beach trip earlier this week, and today I’m wrapping up the second half!

Tuesday, August 15
Worked out in the condo this morning, just wasn’t feeling the beach walk this time. Huxley stayed up at the condo this day, with him being just one years old going to the beach everyday can be a lot. Hadley and I chilled at the beach together, and then Kevin came down later with her. Kevin has always done the laundry when we’re on vacation, I don’t know what that’s all about, but I’ll take it. For dinner, we went to Boshamps! I saw this place on Instagram and wanted to dry a drink they have called “the dreamsicle.” The drink consisted of Titos vodka, vanilla ice cream, and orange juice. Even though I’m not a huge fruity drink fan, it was good! Kevin had a burger, and he said it was one of the best he’s had. He’s not a huge seafood guy, so yes, he got a burger at a seafood restaurant. I got a shrimp basket, it was good! They had a really cool place outside to hang while you waited for your table, sand for the kids to play in, big chairs, and could walk along the docks to see all the boats, it was fun.

Wednesday, August 16
We changed it up a little bit today and went to a pier! We found out about this place from a family we met at the condo pool. You pay $2 per person to go on the pier, and you literally see so much sea life! We went early, like eight in the morning, and there were already so many people fishing. We saw a few sharks, small fish, and jellyfish! It was so cool to see sharks so close up! After the pier, we stopped at a local cafe for breakfast. I tried my favorite chai tea latte, it was good! I love trying chai’s at different places! After breakfast, we headed back to the condo. Kevin and Hadley headed out for their day date, they did go karts, swings, water bumper cars, and just had fun being together just the two of them. After they got back to the condo, and Huxley took his nap, we went down to the pool to swim. We ate dinner at the condo, and then just hung out on the balcony. I could sit out there all night!

Thursday, August 17
We had an exciting day today! We headed out bright and early again, stopped for donuts for breakfast. We rented a pontoon boat and headed out to Crab Island. I don’t know if I’ll be able to say everything I want to about this day, but it was quite comical on the pontoon. You see the photo of Kevin talking to the guy about the pontoon, and how to get to Crab Island, etc. The trip to Crab Island should’ve taken twenty, maybe thirty minutes? It took us an hour. An HOUR! Let’s just nicely say, that my human MapQuest of a husband, is amazing at directions on the road, but on water? Not so much. After an hour of driving around, just enjoying the ride (lmao), we finally found the island filled with boats! It was so cool! A bunch of boats in shallow water, and a tiny little store in the middle of the water, where you can pay to bounce on a ton of floaties! The really terrible thing about the trip was the water was filled with jellyfish! Kevin got in, and dunked Huxley a few times to cool him off. Hadley and I did not get in, it was so hard, but I was not about to get stung. It was a huge bummer, because we rented this pontoon and barely stayed because of all the jellyfish. It was fun though! If there were no jellyfish, we would’ve stayed and swam until it was time to return the pontoon. Definitely doing that again, during the non-jellyfish season though!

After Crab Island, we got Chick-Fil-A for lunch on the way home, and then Huxley took a nap. Hadley and I went down to the pool, she swam with the friends she made earlier in the week. For dinner, we went to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant. We sat outside and watched all the boats go in and out of the harbor. After dinner, we walked around the boardwalk. Hadley got frozen yogurt, and then we went back to the condo. Kevin put Huxley to bed, and Hadley and I walked on the beach. We saw a few sandcastles of mermaids and octopus. And then I came up to the condo, and Kevin and Hadley took a night swim in the pool and hot tub! She loved all the one-on-one time with each of us!

Friday, August 18
Our last full day! We started out the morning by eating breakfast on the balcony. Hadley loved the hanging seat! And Huxley’s travel seat was so easy to move around wherever. We basically just hung out at the beach and pool off and on all day. We would take turns with Hadley at the pool, and the other at the beach, or up at the condo with Huxley. At the pool, Hadley met these siblings that she had so much fun with all week. The parents were so nice too, they were from Connecticut! They didn’t want the night to end, they swam for so long together. When it was time to come up to the condo for the night, they both went to each other’s condos to check it out, and they exchanged home addresses in hopes to keep in touch! It was so cute!

We ate dinner in the condo, and then Kevin pretty much packed the van, so it was all ready to go in the morning. Hadley was so tired; she was out and looked so peaceful in bed I had to take a photo.

Saturday, August 19
Left the condo bright and early! We stopped at Subway for lunch, and I took a picture of Hadley because her eyes looked super blue, and she got so tan! I sat in the backseat the last few hours of the trip. We decided to push through, and just drive the entire way home instead of stopping at a hotel again. Hadley and Huxley were troopers on the way home.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and even better water on this trip! We had rain one time, but it was at night while we were sleeping. The water was sooo clear, it was gorgeous! I’m not sure I could ever go anywhere else, with the water as clear as it was. Just beautiful! It was a great vacation. As Huxley gets older, vacations will get easier. He did amazing sleeping in a pack ‘n play for a week too! We love the ocean, it’s so calming and relaxing, I never want to leave!

Thanks for following along our vacation journey!

Read about the first part of our trip by clicking here – 2023 Summer Beach Trip Days 1-4.

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Our 2023 Summer Beach Trip – Days 1, 2, 3, & 4

Recapping our summer beach trip from a few weeks ago! We’ve gone to Destin, Florida twice now, and just love it there! The water is so clear, it feels like you are in the Caribbean crystal-clear waters. There is so much to do there, we just love it.

Friday, August 11
We left our house bright and early Friday morning. I bought Hadley one of those plastic lap desks for the car and she pretty much used it the entire time we were in the car. We stopped about two hours in for breakfast and gas. We let the kids walk around as much as we could, even let Huxley stand in the booth when we’d stop to eat so he could stretch his legs.

We had the plans to stop in Birmingham, Alabama and stay at a hotel. We weren’t quite sure how Huxley would do in the car, so we had a plan. Since we couldn’t check into our hotel until 3pm I think it was, we decided to take a pit stop and visit the infamous Buc-ee’s! We went to the one in Athens, Alabama and it was amazing! If you ever get the chance to go to a Buc-ee’s, go. It is one of a kind, huge, and a bit overwhelming. But so so cool. I plan to share what we purchased while we were there, to give everyone a taste of what they have.

I was a little anxious how Huxley would do in the car for long periods of time, but my loving husband stopped for all the things. Breakfast, lunch, and diaper changes. Huxley did pretty good! He had his moments, and I even had a bag full of new toys he had never seen before, and they would last maybe 3 minutes at a time. Towards the end of the drive to the hotel, I did hop in the backseat in between Hadley and Huxley and entertained him a little.

We arrived at the hotel, checked in, and went up to our room and changed into our swimsuits. Went down to the pool, ordered pizza, and ate dinner outside. I’m not a huge fan of sleeping all together in one room with kids. One reason, I’m a very light sleeper, and don’t sleep the best anyways. We put up the pack ‘n play in the corner of the room, shut the blinds, turned on the sound machine, and he went to sleep.

Saturday, August 12
On the road again bright and early! We took our time checking out at the hotel, they have a really great breakfast at this particular hotel, so we relaxed and filled our bellies before heading out again.

Huxley has never been a big napper in the car, for this trip he only slept 30 minutes the entire trip! I guess it’s better than nothing but was hoping for a longer nap. We brought the travel sound machine we’ve had since he was a newborn, stuck it in the side of his car seat, and turned the radio down. It worked because he fell asleep, just didn’t stay asleep!

We arrived at the condo and walked straight out to the beach! The water was amazing! Hadley was so happy, and Huxley wasn’t so sure. I love staying at condos that are right on the beach, with a very very short walk to the beach. When you have kids, they come with lots of stuff to bring to the beach, so the shorter the walk the better. In my opinion, you can’t really go to Florida without staying at a place with a view of the ocean, right? After dinner, we took a walk on the beach and the weather was amazing.

Sunday, August 13
Started the day with a walk on the beach! It felt amazing to be by myself, and I luckily forgot my headphones for the walk, so I literally listened to the sounds of the ocean and just took it all in. It was so relaxing, while I was sweating my booty off!

Kevin and Hadley went down to the beach and set up the umbrellas and tents. Little man wasn’t a fan of the sand! He would either sit on a chair or stand on the mat and barely move. It was pretty funny as the days went on, but he loved the water!

Hadley could live in a pool, like she would rather swim at a pool all day instead of the ocean. She loves the ocean, but not as much as a pool. We compromise and spend most of the day at the beach, and then one of us goes up to the condo with Huxley while he naps, and then the other one of us goes to the pool with Hadley. It all works out!

We went to a place called Fudpuckers for dinner, we’ve been to this place before Huxley was born. You can feed the alligators while you wait for your table, and they have places for the kids to play. For dinner, we got seated right away so we fed the alligators after dinner. Kevin ordered a bucket drink which consisted of vodka and lemonade. I did a fun poll on Instagram and asked everyone who they thought ordered the drink, me or Kevin. Everyone voted me which I thought was soo funny, because Kevin ordered it. I’m not a fruity drink person, and this drink was fruity! Hadley loved her meal; it came with tiny alligators on her food.

After dinner, we went to feed the alligators. Hadley loves to pet animals, so of course she wanted to pet the alligators they brought out. And then she fed the alligators! While she was feeding them, Kevin was holding Huxley because it was super-hot out and let’s face it, I hold Huxley all the time! Huxley felt the need to take his ballcap off and toss it in with the alligators! We were laughing so hard! Kevin told the employees just in case if the alligators decided to eat the hat and by no means did we want or need the hat back! Well, the employee used this huge net to get the hat out of the water! They said that alligators get super territorial over things like that, and they’d rather get something out of the water, than leave it in with them. It was a memory we won’t forget!

After dinner, Kevin stayed at the condo with Huxley and put him to bed. Hadley and I went to get ice cream, it was such a cute little shop. After ice cream, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts to get breakfast for the next day. At the condo, we love to sit out on the deck and just listen to the ocean!

Monday, August 14
Started the day with another solo walk on the beach! I just love how the walk to the beach is so close, I can’t imagine going to the beach and not staying so close can you? Kevin and Hadley went down to the beach to set up the stuff again, I stayed up at the condo and got Huxley ready for the beach. He ate so much sand, he started **itting sand, it was insane! I can’t get over how amazing the water is! It’s crystal clear, and it was the perfect temperature! Refreshing, not too cold and not too warm, it was perfect!

I’m so glad we brought his floatie we use at the pool for the ocean; it was a lot easier than holding him or putting him in a life jacket. The water was pretty calm most of the time, so we felt comfortable putting him in a floatie.

Kevin and I took turns going up to the condo with Huxley and to feed him lunch. We brought a travel highchair that was perfect. It folded up like a mini camping chair, so it didn’t take up much room at all. The condo was very nice, I wish I would’ve taken more photos of the inside. The only complaint we had was it wasn’t the cleanest, and the door to the entrance looked like a tiger had a little brawl at the front door! The condo is an older building, and needs some updates, but we still loved it.

After Huxley went to bed, I ran to the store to get some more Titos. I had to take a photo of how much cheaper it was in Florida than in Ohio! Like ten dollars cheaper! And I took a photo of the “reddy ice”, which isn’t the best ice because it melted so fast. I like the home city ice in Ohio, it stays super cold! This was the end of day four!

Check back later this week, to recap the rest of our trip! Thanks for following along.

Happy Monday and thanks for reading!

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Our 2023 Summer Beach Trip by the Numbers.

We had a great trip to one of our favorite places, and today I’m recapping the trip by numbers! This idea is from Lindseys Sweet World!

9 – Days we were on our trip

1 – Night we stayed at a hotel

7 – Nights we stayed in the condo

2 – Bottles of Titos were consumed

5 – Twelve packs of Zevia were consumed

3 – Donuts consumed by mainly Hadley

1 – Time we got takeout and ate in the condo

3 – Restaurants we ate at on this trip for dinner

2 – Times we ate inside at a restaurant

1 – Times we ate outside at a restaurant

2 – New restaurants we tried on this trip (BoShamps and Margaritaville)

4 – Walks on the beach at night

8 – Crabs seen on our walks

2 – Dolphins seen in the ocean

4 – Bottles of sunscreen we went through

2 – Holes-in-one made during Hadley’s mini golf outing with Kevin

5 – Times we made lunch in the condo

1 – Time we had Chick-Fil-A for lunch in the condo

30 – Hours spent on the beach during the day

200 – Pictures taken on the trip with my iPhone

32 – Videos taken on the trip with my iPhone

Infiniti – Jellyfish we saw in the canal and ocean

6 – Shells found

89 – The lowest temperature we saw during the whole trip

99 – The highest temperature we saw during the whole trip

I’ll be recapping our trip from start to finish in the next few days!

Happy Monday!

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Beach Must-Haves: Clothes & Accessories.

We are taking a beach vacation in a few weeks, and I’ve been counting down the days until we leave. I’ve been craving the beach so bad this year! The fresh ocean air, the sand in between my toes, and the salt water of the ocean. I just love it.

I’ve been browsing for things to bring and pack for our trip, searching for car toys for the one-year-old, new attire for the eight-year-old, and tons of essentials for the beach! These beach vacation must haves are sitting in my cart or are on their way to my house. First up, clothes and accessories for Mom! Check them out below!

Click on the title of each item to be directed to the link!

1. Swimsuit.
I am large chested, so I have always had to have a halter swimsuit that ties to hold the girls up. But when I tried this swimsuit, I loved it! Even though it’s not a halter, it holds me up pretty good. And I love the bottom skort too. It fits so good!

2. Swimsuit Coverup.
A friend had this coverup at the pool, and it looked so cute on her! I asked her to send me the link and I bought it. It’s the cutest cover up! It’s see through a little bit, but it’s flowy and very light. I love it!

3. Goodr Sunglasses.
Obsessed with these sunglasses, they are awesome. I want to get another pair I love them so much.

4. Sorel Gym Shoes.
I’ve never tried this brand of shoe before, but I ordered them, and they are oh so pretty! Going to bring them on vacation!

5. Notched Neck Tiered Dress.
I’m excited to bring some new dresses on vacation, and this one looks so fun and festive for summer!

6. Adidas Tank Top.
This tank top is one of my favorites, it fits so good and is very breathable to wear during my walks.

7. Calvin Klein Shorts.
These shorts are one of my most favorite shorts, the color I have is Logo Line Black Deboss. I wear them so much and they are so comfy!

8. Adidas Slides.
I’ve always worn adidas slides since high school, and I love to check out new ones every few years or so. I’ve been wearing these this summer and they are comfy!

Top 25 Travel Bucket List.

I’m sharing my travel bucket list of places I’d like to visit sometime in my life! Who knows if I’ll ever make it to some of these places, but theirs no excuse to not have a bucket list right? Just the act of creating a list of places to visit can help. It’s fun to think of these places, and all the amazing things this world has for us to see!

In no particular order, here are the places!

One of the natural wonders of the world, that is larger than the Great Wall of China, and the only living thing on earth visible from space. How cool is that? To be able to snorkel, swim, and just be in the presence of all this beauty sounds amazing.

Ever since I saw the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and that scene where one of the characters is in Greece and swims in the water! It’s always been one of those places I’d love to see.

I have been to both Disney World and Disney Land when I was a young child, but I’d love to go now with my children. I want to take Hadley before she gets too old, but I want Huxley to be able to remember it too. Seeing how pricey it can be to go seems outrageous, but with anything, theirs cheaper ways of doing things just have to do some research.

Every time I see photos of the Dead Sea, it looks so relaxing and peaceful. I’m not sold on traveling to this place, but by the time I might have a chance of going I’ll probably get over that part.

Literally, I’d go anywhere in Italy. My interest was first sparked from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun which now that I’m thinking about it, a few of these places might’ve came from a movie somehow. Anyways, Italian meals, the wine, and the scenery look glorious.

I’ve been to New Orleans before and it was so much fun, it was a trip with my parents after my mom received her doctorate degree. I would like to go during actual Mardi Gras one year to experience the craziness!

Another place I’ve been to before, but want to go now that I’m older. We went twenty years ago with my parents, and we went snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands right by some sharks too!

Looks beautiful, have never been even being born in Pensacola not too far away, and have been to Fort Myers Beach quite a few times. This one is on the list to visit!

To see the beautiful bands of light in the dark sky look so cool!

To go to Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day would be awesome. Although, I don’t drink beer anymore so I’d have to get over that part, but the whole ambience of the holiday where it originated from would be really fun.

A geothermal spa in southwestern Iceland, located in a lava field. The whole idea of this place sounds very intriguing, and also very relaxing. A giant spa to just chill in? Sign me up.

If I can get past the idea of traveling to a place where you can get eaten by wild animals (lmao), this place looks really fun to visit! Eating a meal with giraffes at your window to feed also? The kids would love it!

The Maldives has always been a bucket list item, to stay at a place where there is water directly underneath you? And you can wake up and jump in the water any time you want? Awesome.

Anywhere in Hawaii is really a bucket list item, but specifically the big island looks like a less touristy place to go to, and that water looks breathtaking.

To go to the real Eiffel Tower, and the most romantic city would be dreamy.

I’m not much of a hiker person, but this place looks so awesome! I could put on some hiking boots for a few days to see this sight!

I’ve heard about these trees and it looks so cool to walk through a bunch of tall redwoods. The photos would be amazing.

While I’m already in Alaska seeing the Northern Lights, I’d also like to see some polar bears in the wild. They are my favorite animal!

Just like the British Virgin Islands, I’ve already been to the US Virgin Islands, but I’d love to go with the hubby one day. So he can experience the crystal clear water with me!

Another body of water that looks just as clear as the Virgin Islands but instead it’s a lake. Maybe we could make the very long trip with our boat to Lake Tahoe one day.

Have always wanted to go to New York City, and experience all there is in the city. Maybe see the Today Show too!

The thought of diving in this giant blue hole sounds kind of scary, but it looks beautiful at the same time!

I want to see a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater one day!

I guess I’ll be pretty busy in Alaska, seeing the Northern Lights, polar bears, and whales!

To see as many bodies of water that are as clear as glass would be an amazing experience.

Lots of places that have bodies of water are on the list for sure. A few different places like hiking, concerts, safari type places, things that are different that I’ll only get to see once in a lifetime.

I’ve made the first step, and made a list of places I’d love to visit one day. Writing things down, or writing a blog post for all the internet to see, can help me take action with things. If I know I’ve written it down, it’s hard for me to forget!

Have you been to any of these places? Do you recommend anything different? I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading my travel bucket list!

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Traveling with a baby.

After our recent trip to the beach, post can be read here, I wanted to share some of my own tips for traveling with a baby. On the plane, in the car, and on the beach. My son is six months old, and we flew to Florida with him and our seven-year-old daughter.

  1. Pacifier for takeoff / landing. I gave our son a pacifier for takeoff, and on the way home nursed him. Both seemed to work great as a protection for his ears, just in case they seem to bother him. You really never know how babies are going to react to flying, so I wanted to make sure he had some options.

2. Plane toys. I bought some new toys he had never seen before and brought a few of his favorites. It helped to have a few new toys to keep his interest. And then we had a few of his favorites also. One piece of advice, try not to bring to many toys or things that can easily roll on a plane. Or you’ll be grabbing things off the floor constantly and wiping them off.

3. Changing mat / blanket. We always have the changing mat in the diaper bag, but it came in great use on the plane to lay it down on the dirty seats to give him some type of barrier. And then his blanket in case it was cold, or just to get snuggle with.

4. Formula / Ziplocs. Not pictured. I brought about six bottles worth of formula in small Ziploc baggies in the diaper bag. Each baggie had one bottle worth of formula measured out. I know they make formula containers, but I love a Ziploc bag and it saved lots of room. We also had a small container of formula in a can in one of our carry-on bags, just in case we were to get stuck somewhere we had plenty. I was still breastfeeding at the time, but not on a regular basis so I was able to nurse him if we had no other means to feed him.

5. Bottles. Not pictured. I brought two bottles in the diaper bag, and while we were on the plane, I put a few ice cubes from our drinks to rinse out the bottle and not leave the formula to dry up.

6. Stroller / car seat. We brought our own stroller and car seat; they are considered a necessity on the plane so they were not a “checked” or “carry-on” bag if you will. It was great to keep him in the car seat, on the stroller, right up until we boarded the plane. And then once we were in Florida, it was nice to have the stroller. And for the car seat, I was worried about not having the base in the rental car, but we just buckled him up the good old fashion way when you put the seat belt through the loop of the car seat.

7. Stroller fan. The stroller fan is a must, we used it so much one of the legs broke off when we got home. Being in the hot Florida heat, you definitely need a fan for the baby. The stroller fan can be found here.

8. Baby crib / hatch sound machine. We used this company to rent baby gear. It was the best idea! We rented a baby crib, a bouncy seat, and the hatch sound machine. I highly recommend using the same things you use at home for bedtime when traveling. It makes it a little easier being in a new environment for the baby.

9. Tent. This tent has been great this summer! Believe it or not, the tent wraps up into a small oval shape. We crammed this into our suitcase and used it for naps on the beach. We’ve also used it for naps at the pool. Baby tent can be found here.

10. Baby carrier. We used the carrier a few times, in the airport and as we walked on the beach. It comes in handy, and it’s been a great way to be able to do more things hands free. The baby carrier we have is a bit old, as it was given to me from a friend. Here is a similar one here.

Sometimes traveling with babies gets a bad rap, but if you do a little bit of preparing and pre-planning, it can be very smooth and easy!

Thanks for reading!

Our short trip to the beach.

We had an amazing, short few days at the beach earlier this month! When our daughters start date for school got pushed back to the Tuesday after Labor Day, we decided to hop on a jet plane to Fort Myers Beach!

We flew this time, and used our companion passes you can use through American Express. I think it was because of the “C” word, I had two passes that hadn’t expired yet! Hadley was beyond excited to fly! She has flown before, but she was little like two and three years old, so she doesn’t remember it at all. This trip was like her first time that’ll she remember. She was so excited at the airport, she couldn’t sit still. We arrived at the airport earlier than normal, traveling with Huxley and all. It was a breeze getting through security.

For takeoff, I grabbed a random pacifier from home, and he surprisingly took it. To help with his ears in case they started to hurt. It was his nap time, so he slept for the first half of the flight. It was awesome! And, we had the whole row behind us empty so Kevin hopped back there and took Huxley once he woke up so he could lay down and play with toys and stretch out. This kid does not like to be held for long periods of time. During takeoff, the look on Hadley’s face was priceless. I wish I would’ve grabbed a photo, but my arms were a little full. She was excited and a little nervous like woah this is fast!

When we arrived at the Florida airport, we got our rental car. A Jeep with a soft top! It was fun! I will say I would never buy a jeep for myself, but it was fun for the short few days we were there.

I had rented a few baby items for Huxley, since we flew, we couldn’t take all the baby gear like we would’ve if we would’ve driven. I rented a baby crib, a swing, and the Hatch sound machine. When we got to the condo, it was all waiting for us outside. It was amazing! And the company was so nice and friendly, and made it super easy for us. The company is called Posh Baby Equipment Rentals and can be found by clicking on this link.

Our condo was right on the beach! It was amazing. We took this selfie when we got there, and kind of cut Hadley’s head off haha

The weather was a little rainy when we got there, but luckily it didn’t rain the rest of the time! Here are a few photos of the condo. The beach chairs had to stay on the grass, you couldn’t move them to the sand. But it was so nice because we would set all of our stuff down on the chairs, as we got our tent and chairs set up on the beach. The condo provided the tent, chairs, and beach toys.

The jeep we rented! Kevin was in heaven; he’s always wanted a jeep. We did ride around with the top down once, at night. During the day would’ve been too hot for the kids. Now if we go back on a no kid trip sometime, definitely have the top down all the time!

Huxley and I took a short walk around the property while Kevin and Hadley went to the grocery store. After we got all settled, we went to dinner at Junkanoo which is a great pizza place just a few blocks down the street. I didn’t take any photos at dinner; I was so tired!

The beach felt amazing, it was a little warm but still felt good to cool off in. Lots of seaweed you had to walk through to get past the waves. It took Hadley a little while to get over that part, and then she was fine.

Here’s the condo, looking from the beach. It was pretty empty. We’re not used to beaches being so empty, we love to people watch. So, this was different, but the best part about it all was the condo was literally steps from the beach. We didn’t have to pack up the car, drive to the condo, it was all right there. It was great!

First day at the beach! All smiles! Even from little Huxley. We found this little boogie board for Hadley to use, and she used it every day. And I love how she wears hats in the ocean, it keeps the water out of her eyes, and she doesn’t have to squint as much because she doesn’t really wear sunglasses. Huxley took a couple naps on the beach; we actually crammed this tent into our suitcase. We used it at the pool all summer too, it was great! Just toss the stroller fan in there, and he’s good to go. The tent and chairs provided by the condo, weren’t in the greatest condition but they got the job done.

Here’s our little lanai, it was perfect with furniture, a coffee table, and a cool little rack that broke down to hang towels and bathing suits on.

We went to dinner by the marina, Hadley’s eyes were so bloodshot from the pool. She kept opening her eyes underwater, and it was a saltwater pool! We forgot her goggles at home, so that was part of it. After dinner we went to the famous Love Boat for some ice cream!

After dinner and ice cream, just Hadley and I went on a walk on the beach at night. Kevin put Huxley to bed. It was so nice! She was so excited to just be with me by herself. We walked pretty far and looked for crabs but no luck. She and I had a great time together.

The next day, I took a fast walk on the beach by myself. It was amazing. No headphones, no music, just the sound of the ocean air. It was so nice.

Hadley loved her room! She had a TV, and her own bathroom. Huxley was in our room, with this little portable crib.

Hadley loved to pretend she was a surfer girl. Tying the board to her wrist. Sometimes Huxley would nap on the beach, or he would nap up at the condo. Kevin and I would take turns sitting up at the condo with him. And Hadley loved it, because she got our undivided attention for a little bit.

The pool was so nice, we pretty much had it to ourselves. At the most, there would be one or two other people. We also crammed Huxleys pool floatie in our suitcase, it breaks down very small.

Probably one of THE best parts about this condo was, Publix was right across the street! Like a crosswalk away. It was awesome! We walked over a few times for sure!

The condo right next door to us had an open house, so Kevin and Hadley went in and looked around just to be curious. We were guessing maybe $500-$600k, nope! It was almost $900k! Good lord.

On our last night, we stayed in for dinner and grilled out steak. We used the grills they had down by the pool. After dinner, we all went on a walk on the beach. The sky was like we were in a different world! I didn’t edit the photos at all, but the sky looks like we were walking in a different world. It was pretty cool. Huxley has a thing for Hadleys hair in almost every group photo we try to take. Kevin volunteered to wear Huxley in the baby carrier, I cannot wear that thing for long periods of time. It hurts my neck! It was such a nice night to walk on the beach and watch the sunset.

After the kids went to bed, Kevin and I sat out on the lanai and watched the storm rolling in. We had the best weather too, it rained on our first day, and then no rain until after dark on our last day. It was perfect!

A few more pictures of the condo, it was perfect for us.

For the flight home, we had about five hours to kill after check out. I wish I would’ve known to ask for a later check out time, so we could’ve stayed there. So, we went out to brunch at First Watch and took our time there. And then we visited my Aunt Cindy! It was good to see her and a comfortable place to kill some time before we headed to the airport. I was dreading hanging out at a restaurant for that many hours with the kids.

The flight home was even smoother! Huxley had his own seat, and if you can afford to, I highly recommend getting your baby their own seat so if you need to lay them down you can. I can’t imagine holding him the entire flight. We had the whole right side, and then Kevin and Hadley had one seat open on their side, so it was perfect. Huxley was awake the majority of the flight, but he was so very good. A few of the people sitting around us, commented on how good of a flyer our kids are. Hadley loved flying and wants to fly everywhere instead of drive from now on. She said her favorite part about flying is when we take off.

It was a short trip, but just enough to get me into that relaxation mode. All I have to do is think of the ocean waves, and that ocean breeze, and I’m instantly relaxed. It was a great time to restart before school, and a few days to get away from reality.

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!

Vacation ticket.

In two weeks, we are going on vacation to the beach! I always like to think of fun ways to do things around here, so I came up with a quick scavenger hunt. Hadley just loves them, they are so easy and you can make them super short too.

First clue: Girl, does Mom and Dad have a surprise for you! Where you get wet in the house is the first clue!

Second clue: Great job! World class swimmer! Ride the waves to where you eat dinner. (Clue was in the shower door).

Third clue: Grab your goggles and dive deep. Find the next clue where you sleep. (Clue was on a kitchen table chair).

Fourth clue: Let’s build sandcastles and play in the sand! Look for the next clue where you wash your hands! (Clue was on her pillow in her bed).

Fifth clue: No resting yet, you’re almost done. A surprise is waiting where there’s movie fun. (Clue was in the bathroom).

Last clue was the ticket to the beach! I made this in Photoshop, and cut it out by hand. (Last clue was in the TV stand / movies). Hadley is super excited! She’s been to the beach when she was around two years old or so, but obviously doesn’t remember at that age. So this will be her first real trip to the beach! We can’t wait to see her have fun on the beach, build sandcastles, swim in the ocean, and to just see this vacation through her little blue eyes! And of course, to just chill, relax, and breath in that ocean air!