We had our first family vacation on Labor Day weekend. We’ve taken little trips here and there, but we’ve never done “vacay”. There was always something: kids too little, weather’s bad, “lets STAYcation instead”…. you know the drill. Anyhow, we took the kids to Pensacola for the weekend and they LOVED it. I loved it. And don’t say anything, but no matter how much he denies it, the hubs had fun, too.
I’m not even going to lie: I was plumb nervous about our first (and possibly last) family vacation. The kids are still small and beaches are notoriously crowded and what if they gripe about the sand in their buttcracks, etc. But the beaches weren’t that crowded and the kids didn’t gripe about the sand (much). We went to Fort Pickens, which Gabe fell in love with since he’s all about soldiers these days, and Connor is my true-blue beach bum. He had so much fun “swimming” in the ocean with Ev and building sandcastles with Bubba. I’m not big on beaches (GASP!), but I’m a sucker for seeing my kids let loose and have a good time. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but by the time Sunday rolled around we were ready to be back home to wash off the sand and sleep in our own beds.
The trip to Pensacola was a doozy. The kids were fantastic (Connor slept most of the way there), but the traffic through Baton Rouge was horrendous. About 9 hours into what was supposed to be a five hour trip, the kids started getting restless. Luckily, I’d brought some of their favorite reads and, so we wouldn’t have to stop at every rest stop for snacks, snack kits. The little kits were simple but proved to be SUPER fab to have once we were all in the truck together for 10+ hours.
I just used Ziploc mini containers and picked up the kids’ snack faves from Target and packed them into a carry-on. Best thing I’ve ever done in my whole life, probably. Those of you who have hongry kids know what I mean and that it’s no exaggeration. You go prepared, or you pretty much commit parental suicide.
We finally made it to Florida and I swear to you I’ve never been so grateful to see that state line. I’m twenty-seven years old and I felt like an antsy toddler come 10:30 Friday evening. I thought I was going to kill Evan when he made an “emergency” pit stop for freaking Taco Bell. But we made it to the hotel and wasted no time resting up for the next day. Saturday came super early (Connor was up and at ’em by 6 o’clock), so we got dressed, ate some breakfast, and headed for the beach.
We spent a good part of the day beachin’ and sight seeing, then returned to the hotel with two EXTREMELY tired little guys for some much-needed naps. Let me take a minute to say just how proud I am of the boys’ behavior. I know I said earlier there was some nervousness, but my goodness they were fantastic. They both kept their hands to themselves and didn’t touch anything they weren’t supposed to. Gabe even asked some really great questions about the forts and batteries at Fort Pickens. To say I was, and still am, impressed is an understatement. Good to know we can take them places without fear of embarrassment or having to fork over hundreds of dollars in the event of a disaster (i.e.: breaking a priceless artifact, etc.). Thumbs up and gold stars from this momma!
We spent most of Sunday at the beach and perusing the streets of downtown Pensacola. Our checkout time was at eleven, but we left a bit earlier so we could maybe catch some sights on the way home and beat the Labor Day traffic back to Cenla. The drive home was a bit more trying for the four of us who, by that point, were sick to death of being in such close proximity to one another. We all went crazy at some point or another but managed to squeeze in one more stop in Abita Springs. Enter the Abita Mystery House. Gabe LOVED it, Connor wasn’t all that impressed, and my nerd husband enjoyed it more than he thought he would. It was neat, but I was more into being able to stretch my legs one last time before we hit Alexandria. Entry into the Mystery House is only $3 per person (Con got in for free) and there really are some crazy-neat things to see in there. One of the funniest things to me was when Gabe saw a typewriter and said, “Mom… how do you see what you type?!” Oh, Lawd. If he only knew.
We had such a fun time with each other and, aside from a few minor frustrations, made some really great memories with the kids. I can’t wait for our next big adventure. Thanks for having us, Pensacola! Until next time.