And....one month later!
This year, we had the privilege of being invited by some wonderful friends to enjoy Dauphin Island for an entire week. This is our family's longest stretch of vacation ever! To say we enjoyed ourselves and made many lasting memories is an understatement. We were a full house with 9 adults, 9 children (Micah being the oldest), and two courageous, outstanding nannies. It was a lot to keep up with for sure: long walks to the ocean, many mouths to feed, little swimmers who were sometimes too brave, and crawlers who put everything into their mouths (that would be Miss Margot!). We couldn't have done it as enjoyably without those wonderful selfless girls helping with all our small children.
It was the hottest I ever remember being at the beach. The humidity was almost unbearable. In fact, almost every time I got my camera out to take a picture, this is what happened. Hence a post without many pictures. My friend, Raechel, did a wonderful job documenting our trip so I will send you over there to see her take and many beautiful pictures (and lovely new website too).
Thankfully, we had wonderfully breezy nights to enjoy the beach and ocean as a whole family. We didn't even attempt to take Margot to the beach during the day. She happily napped with Hazel and Rowan during the heat of the day in the nice, cool house. When the evening came and she saw her swimsuit, she would giggle. She couldn't wait to get to the ocean, gobble up handfuls of sand, and kick and splash in the waves. We have never seen a baby so happy to be in the salty, sandy atmosphere. She was in paradise. The boys loved the trip as well. They made up endless games in the waves, played countless board games with anyone who would oblige them, looked for shells on the beach with Beatrice, and made lasting silly memories with Oliver,
See Micah in the far left? He stayed in the ocean the whole time we were at the beach.
This last picture was actually the start of our trip. We decided to take a slight detour and stop at "the loveliest village on the plains." The boys loved running through campus and eating frozen yogurt, and we loved breaking the trip into two very doable drives. Micah declared that he loved Auburn, wanted to go to college there, and even wanted to move there! Matt and I dreamed about opening a satellite office and moving there ourselves. Oh, how we love and miss that place.
And because this has been so long coming, and because I just want to get this down and posted, here is a list of some of our favorite memories in no particular order.
-Watching my boys perform beautifully at our favorite restaurant in Auburn. It was a lot to ask for them to sit quietly and enjoy "adult food" after 5 hours in the car. Matt and I were silently praying they wouldn't embarrass us-we had forgotten Amsterdam wasn't the most kid friendly place. They both claimed it was their favorite restaurant while they ate their weight in smoked salmon dip. That's my boys!
-Seeing three small boys cuddled up on two twin beds to sleep. It didn't last long as my boys need their space. Owen ended up choosing the floor.
- Learning and playing many hours of cornhole.
-Hearing strange sounds one night, Matt and I quickly leaped up to save the day from the storm blowing in. As we were scrambling about collecting items, we realized that we weren't the only ones who heard. But... we were the only ones out there in our underwear!
-One night our family took a mini road trip to Gulf Shores to get Matt's and my favorite meal: a steamed seafood platter. Micah had one bite of king crab leg and declared "This is great! I think this is what we'll eat in Heaven!" "I think so too" I told him. Owen had a few bites too, but we wanted to be careful with his shrimp allergy. I packed a bottle of Benedryl and let him have a taste. Sweet boy declared his grilled chicken breast dipped in butter sauce his favorite meal ever. We followed dinner with a trip to play mini golf. Both boys made a hole in one!
-We somehow scored the master bedroom (our friends wanted to give us a nice welcome to the group vacation). The bathtub was a large garden tub. At the end of our nighttime beach trips, Matt got in the shower with all the kids. He bathed, I dried, lotioned, and clothed. Then, we would scramble to get the kiddos in bed at a decent hour, so we could enjoy some adult conversation and games.
-Watching/listening to my boys play with their sister in the car, so she wouldn't cry was one of the highlights. She isn't fond of sleeping much on car trips, and they would entertain her by tossing all their stuffed friends her way. She thinks they hung the moon.
-We played at least three full games of monopoly with Micah and Owen-including "joke monopoly" which is really the modern day version. You could buy airports for $200 million! Micah got a big kick out of that.
-On our last day at the ocean, the waters were tepid and there were rumors of jellyfish. After Owen, Margot, and I decided to call it a day, Micah held a slimy goop up in the air asking "what in the world is this?" Matt tried to stay calm as he told Micah to put it down right now and get out of the water. Micah denied for a solid hour that it was a jellyfish. We were so thankful he didn't get stung by one of the massive jellyfish that started washing ashore. He finally admitted that he held a jellyfish, but had to put in the disclaimer that it wasn't alive.
I know I'm forgetting many things, but this will suffice for now. Here's hoping for many future beach trips-definitely my favorite vacation spot!