Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pensacola 2014: Days Five Through Eight

Our fifth day of vacation dawned bright and sunny with the promise of fun times ahead. There was one major difference (to this day and the next two as well), but I’ll get to that tomorrow.

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We spent most of the day playing downstairs in the sand and the water. This was the day that I decided to gently put Rory down in the sand, step back, and see what happened. I fully expected to have to pick him up right away, but to my wonder and amazement, he played happily for about 20 minutes. Winning.

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We had a great time in the water, too. Kenny found an inflatable boat that we blew up for Riley, and Kate had fun in her little princess float.

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This was the day of the storm, so we didn’t have any beach time in the afternoon once the kids were up from their naps. But there was lots of watermelon, iPad, and popsicle time instead.

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And of course there was lots of time spent in “the kids’ room.” This was the room with two sets of bunk beds where Riley slept (and where Rory slept the last few nights…Kenny and I totally kicked the little restless sleeper out of our room and stuck him with his brother instead). Riley LOVED his vacation room. I’m pretty sure there will be bunk beds in our house sometime in the future. All three of the kids had such a fun time in that room, especially once Kenny made the beds into a giant tent.

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The weather moved through and the next morning was another beautiful one. We were out on the sand fairly early and enjoyed a really fun day. While Kate rested on her Daddy’s towel…..

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…..Uncle Jeff and I played a rousing game of paddeball. We wanted to get over 100 successive hits, and though it took us awhile to get there, we finally did it. And then I got right into the water to cool off.

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Riley came with me and did one of his favorite things of the trip. But more on that later.

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More rain came through that afternoon, so the girls took advantage and went off shopping for a couple of hours. We came back to find all of the kids awake and having snacks. Nola had gotten them each a little something, and they were all excited to see their surprises.

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We spent some time in the kids’ room before dinner, where Kate accessorized her outfit thanks to Nola. Then Kenny and Uncle Jeff continued the fun by giving Riley and Kate crazy hair after their bath.

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When Riley woke up the next morning, his hair was even more awesome. And Kate looked so cute in her little pigtails. This was our last full day at the beach.

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Riley’s hair stayed that way until he got in the water. But like I said, more on that later.

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Let’s turn now to boating activities. We took the kids out for one more round of tubing, and Kate even got her first turn. Funny story: every time we would go out on the boat, she would inevitably fall asleep. But we made sure to let her and Uncle Jeff go first this time, even though Aunt E was incredibly nervous.

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Rory was obviously too little to tube, but he enjoyed the boat ride. And watching his big brother and his daddy being pulled along behind the boat for their tubing turn.

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I took a solo run after that, during which Riley apparently cried the whole time because he wanted to go too. So I took him for the last run before we headed in for lunch. I was sore for days afterwards. Pitiful.

Once the kids were snoozing away in their beds for naps (after playing in the tent for a bit, of course), Kenny, Uncle Jeff, and I went back out with Nopsi so the boys could do some skiing. Unbeknownst to any of us, this was Uncle Jeff’s first time waterskiing. It took him a few tries, but he did get up for about 20 seconds. The water in the sound was pretty choppy, which made it really hard. So we decided we’ll just have to take a trip to the Pearl River one of these days.

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Then it was Kenny’s turn. He decided to go big and try the slalom ski first. It took him a few tries as well, but he eventually popped up out of the water and had a decent run. He was sore afterwards, too. We are definitely not as young as we used to be.

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After skiing, Kenny and Nopsi went to take the boat back to the launch and get it on the trailer in preparation for the drive home while the rest of us tried to keep the kids occupied while we cleaned up downstairs and packed up some of the inside. Our vacation was coming to a close.

Tomorrow I’ll tell y’all about the awesome thing we got to see three of the days we were there. Here are two hints as to what it was: BLUE and LOUD.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pensacola 2014: Beach Wildlife {Video Monday}

As one might expect, there was no shortage of wildlife to see while we were on our beach vacation. Riley and I did see some jumping fish and a few jellies when we ventured over to the Gulf side, but most of what we saw was in the sound.

There were loads and loads of little fish swimming all around us and nibbling on our toes when we were playing in the sound. Nopsi captured quite a few with his casting net to use as bait when he and Uncle Jeff went fishing.

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They had some success in the Pensacola Pass and caught a few bluefish and a redfish. Bonus points to anyone who can figure out what this is a picture of.

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Throughout the week there were also quite a few birds flying in the sky, but one in particular seemed partial to our dock. Harry the heron is apparently a regular visitor to Fleur de Sound and didn’t seem at all bothered by Nopsi and his net or by me getting fairly close to him with my camera.

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We also had encounters with a couple of blue crabs who liked hanging out on the steps down into the sound. Though they were small, their pinchers still hurt. We caught one of them with a net but eventually let him go. And we saw a stingray cruising along near our dock a few evenings.

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Then there were the dolphin sightings. We actually saw quite a few in the sound a number of the days we were there. There were even a couple swimming around right by Riley and me when we were tubing. We were SO close to them but I couldn’t see them. However, Kenny captured an awesome picture of Riley and me on the tube with a fin poking through the water in the background. So cool.

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But Uncle Jeff got the best shot when he and Nopsi went out fishing one morning. It started off with this gorgeous view of the sunrise from the back of the boat…..

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…..and ended with the video below.

Happy Monday!

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