Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Vacation at the Beach

Well, Paul, Kaleb and I have just returned from a week long (well, 9 DAYS actually) vacation at Fort Walton Beach, FL. We booked this trip back in January so we have been looking forward to this for some time now, literally counting down the days. What made this extra special, is my best friend from SCO, along with her husband and 2 year old son, flew down also! I haven't seen them since Kaleb's 2nd birthday party, which is WAY too long! So, not only did we get to do some major relaxing, I also got to catch up with a great friend.

We rented a condo at a resort called Waterscapes. We chose this place over the others because of the amenities it offered. Last year, Kaleb HATED the ocean, so we spent all our time at the pool. So, when choosing a place this year, we wanted to be sure to have a nice pool for Kaleb, in case the ocean situation hadn't changed. When we arrived Friday night, we found the condo to be more than we expected! It was HUGE and with great views of both the pools and the ocean. If you have young kids, I highly recommend this place. It has a lazy river, a circle pool, a splash pad for toddlers, AND a graduation pool (where it starts off flat and gradually gets deeper as you go in, where Kaleb had over 20 ft of pool where he could touch the bottom!). It also has two hot tubs and is right on the beach! It was a good thing we did invest in this place, because things had not changed and Kaleb hated the sand and ocean. But he had such a great time when at the pool, I didn't mind at all. Just seeing him so happy and having so much fun, I completely forgot about the beach, well, at least until he went back upstairs for lunch/nap, at which point me and Aub went down to the beach for some mommy time! =)

While there, we went to some great restaurants. My favorite thing to do while in Florida is to eat as much fresh seafood as possible! And that we did! The first night, we went to AJ's Seafood, which a great place on the Boardwalk in Destin. Kaleb wasn't too fond of just sitting and waiting for everyone to finish eating, so him and me made a couple trips up and down the boardwalk, looking at all the charter fishing boats. Here is a picture of him on the AJ's truck. It's a little out of focus but still a cutie:
The next night, we were all a little tired from the full day at the pool, so we decided to just cook some hamburgers and stay in. It was very relaxing. On day 4, we decided to just order in pizza, which was another relaxing night. Last year, Paul and I tried to go to this restaurant I had been to before, and remember being very good and had a great view, The Backporch, but the wait was about 2 hours, and that just wasn't going to happen with a two year old. So, I talked everyone in to trying it this year. When we got there, they said it would be about 45 minutes, which is better than 2 hours, but with 2 toddlers, still too long! So, we ended up going to McGuires Irish Pub, which I read had excellent steaks. Well, after waiting 35 minutes to get seated, and then a not-so-nice waitress, we did get our food, which was GREAT! The steaks did not disappoint and JB's sandwich was at least 8 inches thick! So the food made up for the wait/service, and the night was not a complete disappointment. On Day 6, we had decided to eat in again, and I found out there was a PF Changs only 17 miles away! Well, 17 miles in Destin, apparently means 35-40 minutes away! But, we made it there and back, and it was as delicious as it always is! And then, our last night, we decided to give The Backporch one more try, and we decided to get there at 5:30, to try to beat any crowd, and SUCCESS! Finally, after 2 years, I got to eat at The Backporch! They sat us on the second floor, on the porch overlooking the ocean! It was an incredible view! The food was good, not great, but worth the trip!

Like I said earlier, Kaleb LOVED the pool. He has really gotten the hang of this swimming thing! I mean, if he fell in without anyone, he would be able to come back up to the surface, but not save his life. So we still have to keep a watchful eye on the brave little turkey! I had Paul take a video of me and him in the pool. He loved to be thrown and then 'swim' by himself. Here is the video!

As far as weather when we were there, it was PERFECT all week. Sunny, high's in the mid 80's, with a nice breeze! We all stayed SPF-50'd up, so no sunburn to ruin anything. The Friday before we left, it was calling for rain, so we decided to take the kiddo's to the Gulfarium, right down the street from where we were staying. As we walked in the door, there was a man holding a big parrot, which you could take pictures with and then pay for them later. It looked like the villian parrot off Rio, so Kaleb wasn't too sure about it, as you can see in the pictures! Afterwards though, he actually wanted to have it on his arm, but they said he was too little. Maybe next year! This aquarium was really neat. Most of the animal exhibits were outside, like a zoo. They had dolphins, sharks, seals, sea turtles, alligators, tortoises,  lots of fish, and otters, which were Kaleb's favorite. He watches a lot of Diego, and one of his favorite episodes is about a brother and sister otters, named Oscar and Ollie. So, he kept saying he wanted to go see Oscar and Ollie! In the episode, you find out that otters are afraid of Caymens, which looks an awful lot like an alligator. I had never heard of a caymen, but this aquarium had then! They are just small allligators! So, Kaleb was extra excited to see Ollie, Oscar and Caymens! There was a dolphin show that was really educational. Kaleb was entertained for maybe 5 minutes, then was begging to go see Oscar and Ollie again! So funny. I have a video of him looking at the seals. He was so funny. As we were ready to leave, we stopped by the gift store. Keegan, Aubrey and JB's son, has developed a recent obsession with Sea Turtles, so they wanted to get him a stuffed toy. I was hoping to get Kaleb something too, maybe an otter, shark, anything that had interested him the whole time. But nope, what did Kaleb find and HAVE TO HAVE... A Truck and a Helicopter! Leave it to my son to go to an aquarium and come out with a truck and helicopter! Oh well, that's Kaleb for you!

The morning of check-out, we had to be out of the condo by 10:00 am, but Aub and JB didn't need to be at the airport until 11:30. After a big game of tetris, trying to fit all our luggage into Paul's Tahoe, and still be able to fit 4 adults and two car seats, we went for breakfast at Waffle House. It was really crowded but didn't disappoint. Then, we went to The Crab Trap, which has two playgrounds on the beach for kids. This turned out to be a great morning! Kaleb didn't mind the sand so much since there was a playground. I got some great pics of him playing.
This is actually his "Cheese" face! He yells it! Hilarious!

This slide was big and fast! I actually went down it once with him and almost fell out it went so fast!

If Kaleb looks at this picture, he tells me "Look Momma, I'm sharing with Keegan" when in all actuality, Keegan was there first! 

Peek-A-Boo never gets old!

The Crab Trap is located in this big Boardwalk/Pier/Shopping center thing. There are three restaurants, a night club, an ice cream parlor and lots of little shops. So, after Kaleb was tired of the sand, we headed to check out the shops which had lots of little goodies for him. We found a pirate hat (he loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates on the Disney Channel) and this little alligator thing that would chop down when you pulled the trigger. I remember these things growing up and the mechanisms haven't changed much, but Kaleb loved it, so we got him both the pirate hat and the alligator. He kept walking around saying "I'm a pirate! Arg!" So funny! Here is a picture of him. He looks mad at me because he likes to look at the picture AS SOON AS YOU TAKE IT! But he kept moving so I kept having to take another! 

He's got the Big Bad Pirate look down pat! =)

I have some more pictures of stuff, but I forgot to bring my camera with me today to upload the rest of them. I wanted to get these from my phone up here so everyone can see them. I will create another post either tonight or tomorrow with the rest of the pictures and videos! 

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