Beach Trip: August 6, 2011

Aboard the USS Alabama
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

Well, let’s see….where did we leave off last night.  Yes, it was very late in the evening and all of the kids were sleeping as we were blazing down the road with me typing the blog with my computer in my lap and then Robby trying to guide me through putting the pictures up on the web.  We made it to the hotel around 1 in the morning and thankfully everyone perked up to walk in.  Robby found a cart and we made it all in one trip.  It didn’t take too long for the kids the change and potty and me to lay out their sleeping bags and they were out again.  Robby and I were asleep by 2 and that is not too much later than our usual bedtime.  The beds were deliciously comfortable so we slept well.
Graham climbed in bed with me around 7:15 and stayed for a few minutes before going to Robby (yes, we were in different beds and were sleeping wonderfully) and telling him that he had to go and potty.  Robby dutifully took him to the bathroom while thinking that I told him to go and tell his Daddy (I did not because I was too sound asleep to think of that or I certainly would have tried it).  They had to tip toe in the bathroom so not to wake Campbell but she did stand up but after Robby laid her back down she went back to sleep.  And so did Graham-we all slept until 9 when Amber sent a text to tell us they were in Destin. 
We needed to get a move on since breakfast closed at 10 so after showers for me and Robby and the kids putting on their clothes were downstairs for breakfast in no time.  The juice is always a big hit with the kids since we usually don’t have juice.  But really they just think breakfast at a hotel is pretty cool because we do let them eat whatever they want.  Reagan had 2 fruit cups, a banana and frosted flakes.  Graham had a muffin, raisin bran cereal and a sausage biscuit.  Anderson had an apple, a muffin (which he gave to me), fruit loops and a sausage biscuit.  Campbell had a banana, yogurt, a muffin, some fruit loops and a sausage biscuit.  We were a hungry crew-traveling makes them that way.
When we were rushing around to get downstairs, Robby had said that we would just pack when we came back up but we some how managed to be pretty packed before breakfast so we came back so the kids could potty and wash hands before heading back towards the battleship.  Our hotel was about 5 miles past the ship.  Reagan and Anderson have been before but they were tiny so we stopped there again.  And wow, was it ever hot.  Robby thought about wiping the sweat off of his head with a pair of Graham’s underwear from the diaper bag.  Anderson was dripping sweat and Campbell’s little face was bright red.  I took the kids down under while Robby stayed with Campbell and they enjoyed seeing the brig, dining and kitchen areas and then Robby took them upstairs while I stayed with Campbell for some more sightseeing. 
We did stop by the gift shop on the way out-Reagan had eyed a tiny jewelry box made of shells and since she had brought her own money, I talked her into buying it.  I didn’t want her to regret not getting it if she wanted it and since it was 3 dollars.  She has been wanting to bring her own money the last few trips and brought down her purse weighing 15 pounds full of bills and change and asked me to pack it.  I convinced her to just take 10 dollars and she was happy with that.  We had to put it in a ziplock back and we couldn’t let Robby put it in his wallet-it had to be in the diaper bag.  Anyway, she was thrilled with her purchase and I have put it safely away in the car.
Since it was so blazing hot, the kids sucked dry their juice boxes before we were out of the parking lot.  Oh, when I was a kid I remember taking a picture on an anchor with the Johnson kids and have always thought it was at the battleship-I don’t know if it was or not.  Anyway, I had told Robby that I really wanted to get their picture by the anchor but when I saw it was blocks from the car and would mean unbuckling and rebuckling, I just passed.  We could do it another time-but luckily there was another anchor later in the day for our photo op.
Next up was the drive to Pensacola to go to the Naval Aviation Museum.  We have been to alot of museums and this one was pretty neat.  Lots of Navy ship models for the kids to look at.  Robby showed them a picture of one and tried to explain to them that Grandpa was on a ship similar and Anderson held his hands out and exclaimed “Grandpa was a navy boy? I can not believe it.”  It took some convincing for him to believe that Grandpa served on a ship or was in the Navy-we looked for the model of his but couldn’t find it-the place was huge!! 
The neatest parts about the museum was (it was free) that it had tons of plane cockpits to climb in and out of.  We would have still been there if we had let the kids get into all of them.  Then they had this 3 story mock battleship for the kids to climb and slide on.  And again the kids still could have been playing there.  It was a very impressive place and next time we will skip the battleship and go straight there.  We probably only saw 1/2 of it but we did grab lunch there before getting back on the road.
We did make another stop at the Gulf Island National Seashore area.  It is amazing what all there is to see and do in places.  This had a huge civil war fort but we opted to not get everyone out and head on towards Destin since the McGuires and Penningtons were already there and it was almost condo check in time.  Anyway, we put that fort on our list for next trip.
There was pretty heavy beach traffic getting to Destin but I enjoy seeing all of the beachy towns and the kids did very good.  We found the condo and were able to make it to the room in just one load (well, Todd did carry a bag) and Robby had to bring up the ice chest after he parked the car and there are a few things left in the car…okay, maybe it took us two loads.  Anyway, the place is pretty massive and impressive. 
It has 4 bedrooms and a bunk room.  Seems like everyone but us wanted the master bedroom-we took the best bedroom (don’t tell anyone though! ha!)  We have two double beds and plenty of floor space along with a bathroom that also had a private shower area.  While I am mentioning the place, I will tell you about the kids sleeping arrangements.  Campbell is in the bathroom, Robby and I may or may not have separate beds and the others are all on the floor.  We knew the floors would be tiled so I brought our camping mats.  Luckily I have 3 and that provides lots of cushion, then they each are on a blanket and then a sleeping bag.  Pretty comfy if you ask me!
Most of the crew was at the beach or pool when we arrived at the condo so we unpacked-I don’t like unpacking.  It makes me feel all spread out-I am already dreading having to repack and go through every drawer to find stuff.  Makes me nervous to unpack but I guess it is easier for now.
Anyway, the supper plans were in the air and it was getting late so we headed out to grab stuff to make for our supper turn.  We found a store and it was packed with people milling around (all probably vacationers as lost as we were in the store), they had tons of things in the middle of the aisles and we were trying to drive those big kiddie shopping carts-maddening!!  By the time we had finished, we had told the 3 big ones they couldn’t eat supper and Campbell was standing on the top of the cart.  (We did let them eat supper-we might have been a bit stressed at the time). 
After our power shopping, we rushed back unloaded the goods.  I started frying the sausage and Robby heated up the sauce.  Before long we had homemade pizza for the kids-since it was nearing 9, they gobbled it up.  I actually have never seen 8 kids so quiet before.  Then the grown ups ate their pizza and salad (and man, did we have the best bagged salad ever-I even finished up the bowl before we put it in the dishwasher).
The kids played excellently together and before long it was time for bed.  We gave ours a bath and poor Campbell was so exhausted that she just cried the whole time.  But when she got out she was happy to lay on Reagan’s sleeping bag and drink her milk-silly thing wants her sleeping bag like the big kids.  She’ll get to use one on trips as soon as the baby is here.  It didn’t take long for everyone to go to sleep and they are pretty out.  Overall it has been a very good day-hopefully tomorrow will be as well-actually I am hoping for a cloudy day with a high of 75! 

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