We couldn't wait to take the kids to the Beach this year! We did a paper chain countdown for Landon so he could grasp it. He loves paper chains and they really resonate with him. We flew, so he was equally excited about getting on the airplane too.
We stayed in Ft. Walton Beach, right outside of Destin, at the Destin West Complex. It's a large complex with one building on the beach side and another across the street with a marina view. We opted for the Marina view because that side had the awesome lazy river that we knew Landon would LOVE. Plus, we found an awesome condo on that side with a garage that was full of beach toys. Since we were flying, we were limited to what we could pack so that was SUPER helpful. It had beach chairs, umbrellas, sand toys, wagons, etc. AWESOME!
Allie is still taking a morning and afternoon nap, so we just took turns going out with Landon each day while one of us stayed in the condo for Allie to nap. We had access to the lazy river, the beach, and a splash pad at a nearby hotel too. When I was up in the condo, I would read and rest. So awesome! :) I equally loved one-on-one time, each day with Landon playing too!
I continued on my half training too and ran 4 miles one morning and 5 the other. Woohoo!!
We like to cook in on vacation to help keep cost low and because it's not enjoyable for us to go to restaurants with our kids. :) #reality We cooked Tacos one night and then got Old Bay Steamer to go (we LOVE that place) and ate it after the kids went to bed. A mini date night. The other nights were at Chick-Fil-A on our first night there, a Pizza place, and The Crab Trap our final night. It was a good balance of relaxing and staying in vs. getting ready and going out.
Landon LOVED the beach! Funny coming from the kid who HATED it for the longest. In fact, the last time he was at the beach, he had to wear tennis shoes and socks on the beach because he hated the sand that much. He also never went near the water. This time, however, he loved the sand, digging, looking for shells, and even swimming in the ocean with me or Ben. He did get stung by a jelly fish on our first day, but we survived and moved past it nicely. (We actually didn't even tell him he was stung by a jelly fish, just that he must've gotten scratched. He's one of those kids that would've never touched the ocean again if he knew it was a creature in the ocean that did that) He also had a blast at the splash pad and floating around the lazy river. He had so much fun!
Allie surprised us all and loved it too! I had really low expectations for how she'd react given our history with Landon and the beach, but she pleasantly surprised us! She had a blast too! The sand didn't bother her too much. She didn't love touching it for long, but she'd sit and walk and play just fine. She LOVED the ocean. Like obsessed. She would've stayed in it the whole time if we let her. She was adorable in it. She also loved the lazy river and playing in the zero entry pool area, too. She slept good in her pack n play and was a CHAMP.
The Plane rides went well too. Landon cried at landing both times because he said his ears hurt. We could never get him to successfully pop his ears. Allie never acted like it was a big deal. I had a whole backpack of new toys and their portable DVD player and my Kindle Fire for entertainment. They both did great and loved the new toys and movie. Plus, we can't forget the snacks! :) Those go a LONG way on the plane.
We went simple this time and rented car seats with our rental car vs taking ours. We also had the condo company get a pack n play for us, for Allie. All we flew with were our 2 checked suitcases, Allie's umbrella stroller, diaper bag, Landon's backpack, and Ben and I both had backpacks. Easy peasy!
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip.