The Friday before last, Kenny only worked a half day and came with Rory and me to pick Riley up from school. From there we got straight on the road for our annual fall trip to the beach with friends.
We got to the Phoenix West complex in Orange Beach right around dinnertime. This year there were only three families, so we switched up where we stayed. The kids LOVED the Phoenix since it has a lazy river and a waterslide. It was really fun to have those options.
Michelle and her family were there when we arrived, and they had David’s niece Bella with them too. Karen and Molly showed up a couple of hours later. Nathan was unfortunately sick and missed the trip.
Before we got the kids to bed, we opened up a pack of glowsticks (Riley walked around with four calling himself General Grievous), and then most of us decided to go hunt for crabs on the beach. It was a gorgeous night and we found lots of crabs. Girl power: Molly and Bella found the most. By far!
The next day dawned pretty cloudy. We spotted a few dolphins from our balcony after breakfast and Riley and Jackson got deep into Legos, but we all managed to head down to the lazy river and slide before 10. Kenny and I ventured to the beach with the boys for a little while before lunch, but we spent most of our time in the river. The water was pretty chilly though; the ocean was actually warmer!
Everyone came in for lunch, after which Kenny led an impromptu stretching session in the living room. Then Karen and I took the older kids back out around 2. We opted for the beach instead of the pool; the kids had a great time playing on the sand and in the water. Miche brought Everett out a bit later, and he ended up taking an hour-long nap on a towel in the sand. He’s so cute.
Everett is 6 months old and currently teething. Miche said it’s been pretty hard on him, although Karen and I agreed that he is such a good baby. He barely cried at all the whole time we were there. I asked Miche if she had tried letting Everett gnaw on a beer bottle (empty, of course), which she hadn’t. I offered him mine that night and he went to town. So funny.
This was also the night that Alden piled all of the trucks we brought onto Rory’s lap. Too funny.
From the moment I stepped out onto the balcony the next morning, I knew it was going to be a beautiful day. And it was. We spent a lot of time down on the beach. Riley and Jackson had a blast together; they picked up right where they left off last year. They especially loved throwing sand “force lightning.” (Like Riley, Jackson also loves Star Wars.) And Rory just ran, ran, and ran some more.
We also made sure to get some last slides in before calling it a day and heading upstairs to shower, have dinner, and start packing. I’m not sure who had more fun on the waterslide: the adults or the kids!
Kenny made octopus hot dogs for the kids for dinner, which they ate out on the balcony during a gorgeous sunset. So pretty.
After dinner, the older boys had some Lego time, Molly snuggled with Everett before learning about who Princess Leia is (Karen even did her hair in Leia’s trademark buns!), Alden gave Riley’s Darth Vader mask a go, and we opened the last pack of glowsticks for some colorful fun before bed. Jackson got a little over-excited with his out on the balcony; we all watched as one of his glowsticks floated all the way down to the pool. Oops. But the kids had such a great last night together, running around, playing, and laughing.
The sunrise on Monday morning was so pretty; we were all so bummed we had to leave. Riley especially: he really wanted to play more with Jackson. But it was time to go home.
We ended up taking a slight detour on our way home, to the USS Alabama. We always see the floating museum from the interstate but we had never stopped before. However, Rory fell asleep shortly before we got there, so we didn’t tour the actual boat. But Riley liked walking around all of the tanks and gun turrets on display on the lawn in front of it.
This was the first year we had to come home and not only unpack and start laundry but also do homework. Riley was none to pleased and said he’d much rather be back at the beach, but he got everything done with little complaint.
I know I probably say it every year, but I am SO glad we started this annual trip. And I am so grateful that we have been able to attend every single trip that has happened. Our first one was in 2007, and we’ve only missed two years (2010 and 2012) since then. Huge thanks to my better half for allowing me to reunite with some of my best friends in his less-than-ideal location.
Until next year, Orange Beach!