We were blessed to be able to take a relaxing week-long (well, 8 days to be exact!) vacation to Orange Beach last week. It goes without saying that this little break from real life was much needed, especially after a long summer of seeing all my friends' beach photos and being insanely jealous.
I will say, though, that I am glad we waited to go until October, with my kids being so young. Last year we went in August and the heat almost killed us. This was the perfect time of year. Mid 80's all week long, no crowds, no waiting at restaurants, and our accommodations were fantastic!
My friend Sharon owns a condo in Orange Beach, and if you ever need a great place to stay, let me tell you: THIS IS IT! It is in a prime location and is absolutely perfect for both adults and kids.
I will blog about our trip here but if you want further info on the condo and her rates, visit her blog here. They only rent to friends and friends-of-friends, so tell her I sent you!
Here is the view of the condo from the beach.
This is the beautiful view from our room. We loved it because we were on the third floor, which is perfect. We could talk to each other if some of us were in the room while others were at the pool. And we felt like we were right on the beach! On cooler nights we would open the patio doors and listen to the ocean, which was so relaxing.
We went with Chad's brother Jason and his wife, Keri Lynn, and their boys, Brooks and Case.
Here are all 5 kiddos ready for a day at the beach!
My little almost-6-month old rocked her 2T swimsuits.
She's already posing for the camera.
We spent our days playing/lounging/relaxing at the beach and the pool.
I'm not usually a pool person when I'm at the beach, but one of the reasons I loved Sharon's condo is that when you're at the pool, you have a panoramic view of the beach/ocean (rather than being blocked off by sand dunes, fences, overgrown sea grass like so many resorts I've stayed at in the past), so you literally feel like you are on the beach even when sitting by the pool.
The baby pool was great for Sam because he didn't have to wear a float and I didn't have to worry about him too much. It was only a foot and a half deep all the way around.
We ate a LOT of food. Sam may have taken down an entire can of Pringles one afternoon.
Thankfully, the kiddos loved the beach as much as they did the pool. The water was gorgeous, there was no seaweed at all and the shells were plentiful.
Check out the Little Miss Muffet curls.
The beach also proved to be Sam's favorite spot for a midday nap.
Emma Kate spent some time loving on Uncle Jason. She also loves her cousins and she would light up whenever they'd talk to her or make faces at her.
The following pictures make me laugh so hard, and if you know Sam, they will make you laugh too. He walks like he's one of the Von Trapp kids. Chest out, shoulders back, arms-a-swingin. I love it.
I think Sam got his mama's skin. He browned like a little biscuit.
We ate a ton of seafood and I gained about 30 lbs but that's ok, I've decided. Totally worth it.
Our favorite place was Doc's Seafood - best fried shrimp I've ever eaten.
One night we ventured out to the outlet mall one night; I tried to shop around, but you know how that goes with kids in tow; so it ended up being a night of letting the kids play at the playground and ride the carousel and stick their croc-feet in the splash pad while their daddy and I enjoyed some Starbucks lattes. Win-win I guess. Little Miss rode in the umbrella stroller for the first time.
She loved it...
... until brother decided to take her for a spin.
She rode the rest of the night like this -- hanging on for dear life.
Look at those precious toes!
I tried to get a picture of the 3 of them in their matching clothes (thank you friends who let me borrow Mary Ella and Sam's outfits!) but Sam was not into photo shoots this night.
Or any night, for that matter.
Oh well, worth a try!
Here is his new thing - when you ask him to smile for a picture, he puts his arms wayyyyy up in the air, and then, with a HUFF, he brings them down and CROSSES THEM.
He HUFFS while doing it.
Hello terrible two's. SO glad you could make it.
Another attempt at a photo. Oh, but where is Sam?
Just standing to the side, frowning, of course.
I did manage to get a few good ones of him.
And the other boys on the trip, my nephews Brooks and Case, were the opposite.
Agreeable and willing to let me snap photos at any given moment.
One night while we were out, we stopped at Dollar General to get some coloring books for the kids; I bought a big bag of mega blocks (jumbo legos) for $5 and Sam and Emma Kate played with them every day. Might be the best $5 spent at Dollar General.
We did a lot of relaxing, too. Afternoon naps were a necessity and the adults cashed in on them too.
"Morgan, party of 5, your bed is now ready."
After-nap Sambo. Caught a little smile.
The golden child was game for photos all week long.
I could eat her chunky legs.
On our last night we took some beach photos of the kids.
They surprised us by all being in great moods so it only took about 10 minutes to get some good photos.
THANK YOU, CHILDREN!
Santa is coming soon and I'm sure he will remember your cooperation.
We had such a wonderful week and I'm so thankful I was able to spend time with my family in such a fun and relaxing setting. It was refreshing not to have to worry about laundry or cooking or cleaning. (Well, I still did a little bit of laundry and cleaning, but you know, it doesn't really feel like work when you're at a condo on one of the prettiest beaches in the country.)
We said our official goodbyes to summer and were welcomed back to Birmingham with 60-degree weather, so let the fall festivities begin!