Friday, February 20, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Beach Vacation!!

Thanks to Kelly for hosting!!

So we just returned from vacation in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and I wanted to photo dump...

Sunrise at the beach
1.  We stayed in a condo right on the beach.  The beach = awesome!  It was white sand with very few sea shells, which was actually nice because you could walk barefoot all day long and not step on anything but sand.  The condo was beautiful but Doug and I decided that maybe condo living is not really built for large families?  We spent the first couple of days hissing at the kids to be quiet...use your indoor voice...not so loud (you get the picture).  Our family did a lot of day trips because it was impossible to keep the younger kids quiet and cooped up for long blocks of time and we didn't want to annoy our elderly neighbors.  Typically we would plan a morning activity, come back to eat lunch, and then go out on an afternoon activity.  We would come back to eat supper and then everyone was tired out enough to watch a movie and go to bed.

Balcony on beach
I should mention that the condo was on the fifth floor with a balcony.  Plus all the windows open!  Whose brilliant idea was that?!  We were ever vigilant parents for the first couple of days and made sure the windows stayed locked and blocked off.  The little kids were not allowed on the balcony without Mom or Dad out there.  I will admit that at night we totally blocked off the balcony door with chairs that made lots of noise if you moved them (we have some sleepwalkers).  However, it did make a very nice place to drink my morning cup of coffee.
Morning cup of coffee...awesome!

2.  The drive down was not too bad.  We stayed in a hotel outside Atlanta on the way down and in Chattanooga, TN on the way home.  Both places had heated indoor pools and enough beds to sleep all seven in our family.  I used to help us find some places big enough for our group.  We also had lots of snack food, our smartphones, the Kindle Fire HD, two ipods, and a DVD player with double screens and headphones.

Princess at Florida welcome center
Florida welcome center

3.  The older two boys spent a lot of time fishing.  On Thursday they went out on a fishing charter and caught some redfish, which we fried up that night for supper.  They were also brave enough to swim in the surf (the temps were in the 60s and 70s when we were down there).  The kids claimed the water was warmer than the air once you got used to it.


Heading for the surf

Riding some waves

4.  We took an afternoon drive north to St. Augustine to visit Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest American fort.  We studied St. Augustine and the fort last year for history when my folks went there for a visit.  When we were planning this vacation it was someplace I wanted to take the kids.  The entire fort is made of coquina, which is a limestone made of sea shells.  You can see all the shells embedded in the walls, it was really neat.
The gang outside Castillo de San Marcos

Group shot

Princess with the cannons on the top deck

Toddler Boy loved the cannonballs
He wanted to take one home

5.  We also spent some time walking along the beaches.
Shot of the guys...

Game Boy

Racing the waves!

Toddler Boy with me
Still light enough to be carried...
6.  While the older boys were out on their fishing charter we took the younger kids on a boat ride to look for dolphins.  The kids even got to drive the boat for an extra treat...

Captain for the day

Dolphin family

7.  The last day there my hubby and I got to go out on a date!  We went out to lunch at the Sea Shack and then went for a walk down Flagler Ave. where I picked up some nice jewelry...

My Valentine's gift from my
sweet hubby!
Me and my man

We could have stayed an extra day but I'm glad we didn't because there was a weather system coming in and we don't love driving through the mountains on ice covered roads.  We picked up our dogs from the kennel and made it home in time to do some grocery shopping before this:

Back to reality...

Hope you're all staying warm in the final days of winter!  Click over to Kelly @ This Ain't the Lyceum for more Quick Takes.

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