Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Glance at June

Much of June was spent swimming with friends, watching Bubby play baseball, and getting ready for vacation. Here it is at a glance...

 Vacation was amazing this year! The weather was perfect and having Aunt Regina and Uncle Wayne there made it even more special! We spent most of the time just enjoying the wonderful God given beach! Very low key enjoyable vacation. We took a boat out to an island to beach comb and fish. We saw sunsets every single night. On the way home, we surprised Taylor with a visit to Clearwater Marine Aquarium and got to see Hope and Winter from Dolphin Tale! We drove to Fort Walton Beach and stayed in an old hotel with a really cool pool. Then finished the trip with our last hotel as a crime scene! What a!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Blake & Baseball

We were really excited when Blake said he and his friend Nico, had an interest in playing baseball. We researched area teams and eventually registered him through St. Peters Athletic Association. It had been years since we were involved in team sports, and with the boys being older now, we realized that things had really changed. I guess once you begin into the competitive years, things can quickly go south between the players and especially the adults. We knew within the first few meetings, that while the coach claimed to have a really great outlook on team management and coaching, the lack of respect that his own son showed, really concerned us. Turns out, it was a really negative experience for Blake and Nico to start out having to deal with. Unfortunately, the coaches began fighting it out, one left and then things calmed down, but not for long. Regardless, the boys learned alot about the sport and about being on a team and how to deal with the ignorance of others. Our boys were definitely beginners, but they really learned alot and came a long way throughout the season, we are really proud of them! This spring was a really wet season, so practices were limited, games were cancelled, but they were consistent and practiced solo, every chance they got. I gotta say, I really got into watching them play! I'm not much on baseball, but I could def be his baseball cheering Mom! Plus I got to visit with Melissa and Jen, we were the fan club! Love that they are involved in team sports and hope for a better experience going forward! The boys want to play again next year, so let do this!

first practice! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sophie...We're Home

The very best part of being home from vacation, is having our Sophie pup back with us! We missed her so much, she is the sweetest fur baby ever!! This time, while we were gone, she barely ate, lost at least 10 pounds...poor sweetheart. Her tail was fine, until the very last minute when they brought her to see us in the lobby of the kennel, she was so excited and shook her tail and started bleeding. I'm not sure I can board her this big baby.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Homeward Bound Birthday

So, today is my birthday and we all just really want to get home. We pictured staying in Destin, enjoying the town, having a dinner, hanging out at the hotel (which is normally a favorite thing for me) but instead, we just want to head for home. We figured we would drive til we got tired and then grab dinner and a hotel. Driving was slow again today, we got to see lots of Florida, then under the Mobile Bay into Alabama. I actually enjoyed seeing the port. You can see the industrial area, huge ships, etc. The people were super friendly and the bathrooms at the gas station were really clean! Yes, I base alot on these small! I really like this old town!

Then a long trek through the Des Soto Nation Forest on some pretty rinky dink roads. We crossed over into Mississippi. Each time we felt like we were getting tired we would look around and only see tiny towns, mobile homes, cars on blocks...we would keep on driving. (just keep swimming, just keep Turns out that lack of safety can be pretty motivating when trying to keep trucking down the road! I would use google maps to research towns along the way, most of them we had to skip on by because there was that "safety thing" and lack of a real hotel, walmart, fast food joint. Eventually, a little college town called Hattiesburg came into view on my map. I researched it, saw that they had several larger chain hotels, so I got on the horn to get us a reservation. I spoke to a couple that had call centers in other countries or states, who knew nothing about the area, and finally to a young southern gentleman at a LaQuinta Inn that was right off the highway. He assured us that it was a nice, quiet, safe town where nothing big happens....BINGO! I got a room reserved at a brand new hotel that had a pool for the kids, continental breakfast for the morning and even a restaurant next door. I was so excited to have a nice new hotel room AND to get dinner and walk back to the room...YAY!

Turns out, it took us a bit to figure out how to get to the hotel from the highway, the parking lot was blocked off by police and CAUTION tape...hmmm, wonder what happened in the last hour since I spoke with the front desk??? We finally maneuver around the back of the hotel, down a side street and make it to the front door. We walk in and there's that nice southern gentleman, with a look of "I'm sorry" on his face...of course, my first question was, "So, what happened?" He starts immediately apologizing, promising that we are safe, claiming that stuff like this NEVER HAPPENS around here...we are looking around at each other and find out that there has been a murder in the parking lot of the restaurant, just prior to our arrival!!! I am so exhausted and hungry that I let practical Billy convince me that we are actually safer because of all the extra police Then, the clerk assures us the same thing, "Ma'am, you guys are very safe here because the police just swept this entire hotel and assured me that the killer is NOT in the building"   WHAAAA???? So he's still on the loose??? I look over at practical Billy as he gives a "go ahead" nod, "Ok, we will take the room." We watched out the window, from out beautiful, clean, brand new hotel room, as the investigation took place in the parking lot. Who needs the television to get live news anyways?! We made a drink, ordered Chinese delivery for my birthday dinner, and skipped the pool. This 38th birthday was definitely not what I expected, but it sure was memorable!

Experiencing Destin

We woke up with an open mind, the hotel might not have been what we had hoped for, so we decided to explore the beach! The hotel had a garden in the center to walk through to access the beach, it was really nice and reminded me of resorts in Mexico etc. There were even "swim-up" hotel rooms, just like those resorts! That was pretty cool. The beach was also like the big resorts we have seen while considering a Mexican vacation. Again, we were open-minded as we set out to explore our favorite thing...the beach!

The sand may have even been the whitest, softest I've seen. The water was still clear and beautiful, there was a little more seaweed here than on the island, and maybe we were just "beached out" from our week in paradise, but it didn't hold up to our standards. Unfortunately, I really do think we are spoiled by the beaches we go to...they are less populated, protected with more regulations, and further south. I suppose after a quiet, perfect week on an unspoiled beach, it's hard to get a fair perspective while researching other beach areas. I like to keep all my posts positive, focusing on the good times and such, but this really made us sad. Really sad actually. This beach, while beautiful by nature, is having a difficult time due to the people using it, taking advantage of it, drunks leaving beer bottles, cans, trash, even hotel bedding was still there from a drunken night before. Resort workers were quickly working to try to clean it all up. We could see litter being washed out by the waves. Hoards of chairs, umbrellas, being set up to appease the crowd that would abuse this beach again today. See...I told you it made us sad. Sad for God's beautiful creation-an amazing beach, sad for humanity-that they take such advantage with no consideration. Seeing this made me want to leave the beach, I had no desire to swim in the water, without knowing what trash could lie right under the sand...I even made the kids put their shoes on to walk because I had seen glass pieces from beer bottles. We went back to the hotel to try out the pool and forget what we had just seen. I guess big, commercial beach areas are not for us.

Gotta say, the pool was really nice, it was less crowded on this early Sunday morning. It was fun to explore the waterfall and the water playground area.

After getting to swim, we headed out to explore the Destin area. We have to remember that this is a tourist area, the same type of area that we typically try to avoid while on vacation, but hey...we are playing tourist today so let's see what all the hype is about! The area is definitely crowded, the beaches look beautiful from the road. The traffic was similar to the downtown Branson area. We drove down to the Pensacola area, got distracted following "the light" at the end of a beachside road (lol), and ended up in the car for way longer than expected. Kids were falling asleep and we found ourselves dreading another night in that crowded hotel. I called and asked if we could cancel our 2nd night and they accepted, we had to have our items out of the room by noon. We hurried back, packed up, and were happy to be back on the road toward home. I guess busier places are not for us. Maybe growing up at Lake of the Ozarks, a tourist attraction town, made me want to escape that while on vacation, not sure. I think we will stick to the quieter beaches.