Thursday, June 26, 2014

seaside, florida

it is hard to even know how to start. but i'm going to try.
i've had a desire to go to seaside, florida for YEARS.
i read about it before sawyer was even born...but knew it was a LONG way away and too far for our family to travel with babies.

earlier this year, i brought it up again...and pat agreed to it!

at first we were going to go during spring break. but wanted to make SURE we had warm weather, so decided to go the first week of the summer!

i don't know how to separate the town and all it is, from just pictures of our family. so i'm going to make this the longest post EVER and do it all together. if you're here to read about seaside, sorry about all the cute pictures of my amazing husband and kids :-) if you just want to see our crazy family, sorry about all the town and amazing water pictures.

ok. here we go!

this is one of my most favorite moments from the week...that moment when you go over the rise and see the ocean for the FIRST time. and THIS ocean took our breath away EVERY time we caught a glimpse! the color was incredible...the most gorgeous blue-green water...against the softest white sand. incredible!
so hopeful and excited about our week ahead!

before we saw the town in person, it was hard to imagine what it was really like. it is the most unique place. we (ok...i) had done a TON of research and looked at blogs and articles and maps, but it's hard to fathom it in your mind. all the roads (except the main one - 30A) are only 1 car wide. our van BARELY fit! the roads are 1 car wide in width, and then you park in front our your cottage on gravel. this is walking back to our house from the beach that first night.
and this is our adorable house! more pictures of the inside later :-)
a quick glimpse of the town. there is this grassy area. behind where i'm standing to take the picture is a semi-circle of shops/restaurants. where that american flag is, is the main road - 30A - that goes through the town and connects to neighboring towns (and the only way in and out!) and behind that row of trees, is the ocean!
here's a map...the "amphitheater" is the grassy area.
another of my FAVORITE moments i don't have a picture of! the night we got there, after we got the kids in bed, pat and i walked to town and got ice cream. with waffle cones, the ones that have chocolate AND sprinkles on them! total splurge. and was just one of the sweetest, most fun few minutes of the week for me...having this whole week ahead of us together with our family. 

as i mentioned in a previous post, i was having bad insomnia...and it continued the first night in seaside. even in paradise! ;-) boo. the stress of the previous few weeks, plus getting ready for this trip, plus just traveling, did me in the first couple days there. i couldn't sleep, was just wanting to curl up in a ball and read a book or something...but i knew i was "expected" to be ON and having fun. it was hard. but we got to bed early the first couple nights, and once i got some decent sleep, i was good to go! the first couple days were really a struggle for me, though. just keeping it real!

the first morning, pat had to spend a few hours at urgent care. on our trip down, rebekah started complaining about a sore throat. she felt BAD. and she isn't a complainer. so one of us had to go to urgent care, and the other had to take the other 5 kids to the beach. there wasn't even a discussion. even though it was father's day :-(. pat would NEVER choose to take 5 kids to the beach by himself!

but, when i woke up, pat wasn't in bed. i found him on the front porch...just sitting and reading. it's such a gift to see this man that works SO hard for us, get to just BE sometimes!
before they headed off to urgent care, we had to eat breakfast. bailey and i walked into town and got pat a fancy breakfast biscuit. the kids each gave $1 from their money to buy it for him!
 along the main road in town, there are these airstream trailers that sell AMAZING (i need to find a thesaurus and use a different word...i've used that word too many times already in this post!) food. one sells just shaved ice in a million flavors. another sells BBQ. another sells all kinds of grilled cheese (and breakfast biscuits!). another sells hot dogs. and the last one sells fresh juice and smoothies. we tried them all except the hot dog one!
 pat's father's day biscuit :-)
 off they go to urgent care...verdict was strep. and she recovered very quickly once she had drugs!! and no one else got it - incredible after being in the care together for 2 days!
 i suffered and spent the morning here while we waited for them to get back ;-)
even though we looked like we were having fun, in all honesty, we were all a little "off. probably a bit tired. joshua is LOST without rebekah. i missed pat AND felt badly since it was father's day and he was dealing with a sick kid.
but we pressed on...

 we went back to the house to eat lunch...and pat and rebekah got home!

spent a couple more hours at the beach. this is the only picture i have of him on father's here you go! THE most amazing dad to my kids. so thankful he's mine (obviously for LOTS of reasons ;-))

 the water. absolutely incredible. clear. the color. and it was super shallow WAY far out. no tide (it's on the gulf of florida). and pretty calm water so i never worried about the kids being out in it.
 we went into town every evening (at least some of us). but first, just hanging at the house. the porch was perfect to be on while the kids played or rode bikes around (more on the bikes later!)
 this post office is in the very middle of the the middle of the airstream trailers. it's a functioning post office about the size of an ambulance. so small and super cute!
 we ate at a restaurant called "Great Southern". YUMMY food. sat outside. incredible memories of a sweet, sweet evening together!

 then we explored a bit. there is a book store that i could have spent HOURS in.
 another store had all these. i read each and every one.
 it was hard for us to tell on the map before we arrived in seaside, how far our house was from town. in MOST towns, by the number of streets back and over it was, it would be quite a walk. but in this town? about a 30 second walk. just to give you an idea...these aren't the best pictures, but they describe it. the restaurant that we ate dinner at is right behind that stop sign (and the restaurant is ON the grassy of the ones lining it in a semi-circle). bailey is walking down the road towards out house...
 and these 2 rascals are a little further down the same road bailey is walking down. they are about to turn right (your left in the picture) onto our street. our house is the 3rd one on the right.
 they were laughing SO hard!
i went for a run every morning. monday through friday. because i wanted to. and for as long as i wanted. and i walked when i wanted. because i WAS on vacation, after all :-)
 my shoes matched the ocean! it was DANG hot. 80 degrees, humid and blazing sun at 6 am. whew!
 monday morning, rebekah and i went to the fresh juice trailer for our breakfast. i enjoyed my one on one moments with some of the kids SO much. i took the moments as they presented themselves and didn't force it.
 this town. they literally SWEPT and WASHED the ROADS.

 we let pat move slow and we all headed to the beach as soon as we could get there! he joined us after a little while.
 that water. isn't it incredible?!?
 monday was levi's 4th birthday!!! {i think this was also a reason i was a little "off". lincoln and levi's birthdays are not just joyous days for my heart. it's a heavy day.}
 SO happy to have our rebekah back!
 daddy's here!

 ok. about midday on monday, i kinda realized we might be a little out of our league. as i was observing all the people walking down onto the beach...they all had linen pants and long sleeved shirts over their bathing suits. and they ALL rented umbrella and chairs and sat under them the WHOLE day and never got in the sun or water. the demographic was a bit above us, but we just smiles and were friendly and everyone was {mostly} kind back.
 whiffle ball game!
 so. we waited to get to seaside to decide if we needed bikes or not. we brought lincoln, sawyer and levi's bikes IN the car. and then did decide to rent bikes for rebekah, joshua and bailey. not because they needed them, but because we could see that it would really be fun for them. and it was. they'd ride around on our street when we were changing or transitioning from beach - pool or pool - dinner, etc. AND we let the older 3 go wherever they wanted in the town! they thought that was awesome! you TRULY don't NEED bikes there. the town is 1/2 mile wide along the beach. and 1/4 mile deep. and it's literally surrounded by a white picket fence.

 there were 2 pools we could go to. this was headed to one of them...
 that also had an area with croquet, shuffleboard, and tennis courts (clay ones. because apparently that is super cool!)

 we took advantage of it ALL!
 we had a little celebration for levi that evening! he finally has a National's shirt!! he LOVES it!
 he's 4!!! my baby is 4?!? what in the world??
 pat and i took a walk after the kids were in bed. we pretty much did something, just the 2 of us, every evening. sometimes it was just a walk. sometimes is was longer - getting a drink or dinner. this particular night, we sat on this bench that overlooked the ocean. and a security guard walked by and offered to take our picture - so nice! and he was very used to doing this...because he whipped out his flashlight and held it up so that you could see us in the picture!
we decided to be crazy and the next day, we went to the pool first and then the beach :-)

these 2. they have such a unique bond. he loves to just be close to her. and she loved reading this vacation and did more reading than playing...she's getting older...

 a ping pong table overlooking the pool. right.

some of the houses we passed walking back to our house...
 the houses there were just incredible!
 the little chapel.
 most days we ate lunch (and breakfast) at our house. but one day we ate lunch at the airstream trailers.
 here i am standing to the left of the post office, looking over the grassy area, to the restaurant we ate at on father's day (with the yellow umbrellas) and to the left is the ice cream place pat and i got ice cream the first night (with the blue umbrellas next to the orange awning).
 i got grilled cheese! with bacon and tomato and gouda cheese!
  most days we didn't have any of the kids "nap" or "rest". it ensured an early bedtime for them so that we could "play" - just the 2 of us :-) but levi was a DISASTER the previous night. so we had a short rest time this day to try to get him back to himself. while pat and the 3 younger boys rested, the 3 older kids rode around on their bikes and i walked around town and took pictures! it was so fun!
 the walkover to the beach at our street. each street has a walkover and each one is different and super cool.
 the only stoplight in town...blinking red.

that afternoon we went to the beach. we LOVE late afternoons/early evenings on the beach!


 pat and i walked around that evening and just got an iced tea from an airstream and talked. this was my favorite store - The Mercantile. i didn't get anything from there. but i could get gotten a LOT!

my morning buddy the next morning. he happened to be going to the bathroom when i walked in the door from running. so i asked him if he wanted to walk to town with me. in his pj's. he did :-)
DAYS later, that water still took our breath away!!

we became friends with the people that sat near us on the beach. everyone sat in the same spot every day of the week :-) thankfully, they thought our family was fun to play with and we didn't drive them crazy!

can you tell i love the beach??!!
and i love him SO much for bringing to my dream place!!!i told him "thank you!!" SO SO many times!

picture night!! setting up the camera. i was REALLY good. took like 5 pictures total and we were done!

we played yahtzee together as a family when we got back to the house. it was so fun!

then pat and i went out! for the longest evening this evening. there was a concert in town.
we ate tacos and chips and quacamole (and a strawberry daiquiri!) with the concert music AND the ocean in the background. it was totally like a dream.
we went and watched the end of the concert.
once we got back, we let the older 3 kids go into town and get ice cream. i stalked them just because it was so cute :-)
for the most part, we all went to bed at really good times each night. it was so so nice! and made us all happier and was just good for us!

the next day (thursday), when we walked over the beach walkover, the water had changed color! it was still super clear, but was most green than blue. and it stayed that way til we left. i was SO glad that we had so many days with it blue! and didn't know it would/could change. i was glad we took so many pictures before and didn't wait til the end of the week!
 i LOVED being IN the water - especially because it was so clear! one day, rebekah and i wore goggles and actually SWAM along the coast.

"let's go fly a kite!"

 we usually went back to the house to eat lunch. we all needed a little break from the heat and sun, and it was so close that it just took a little while! but i never let the kids go IN the keep it less sandy :-) we just ate on the porch! and they played while i made lunch!

we brought almost ALL our food with us. we bought 4 things at the store when we got there: bananas, salad, milk and eggs. brought everything else: lunch meat, cheese, bread, chips, watermelon, strawberries....we had 2 coolers and it all stayed cold and even frozen (the stuff that was!) even through the night at the hotel! we brought the coolers into the hotel and refilled the ice in the morning!

we ate all our breakfasts and all but one lunch at home. we ate out a few nights...but also ate simple dinners we brought (hot dogs and kielbasa, taco's)
 that evening we ate at Pickle's. it's RIGHT on the mainstreet, across from the airstreams. and you can sit and eat as you watch the town in front of you!
 the view from our seats..
then we walked around and let the kids bring their money and get something (if they wanted.) rebekah and i bought matching tank tops. joshua didn't buy anything. the other kids bought little stuff. it was fun...and stressful :-)
 airstream row at night.

 we bought 2 shaved ice's and let them all share. they were gone in 60 seconds flat.
 pickles at night
 getting their bikes out to ride back home!

one last run in this amazing town!

 i read ALL of 2 books and part of 2 other books this week!
 we love bocce!
 after a nice long day at the beach (9:30 am- 4 pm this last day!) we headed back to start cleaning and packing up. even cleaning the toys is "cute" in this town :-)
ahh! i can't post anymore pics! if you want to see our house in detail...and our last evening in seaside, go here.

if you made it this far, you deserve a gold star :-)

it was an AMAZING vacation. in so many ways. good for our family. such a beauty of a town. we loved it. i sure hope we go back one day!



Thanks for sharing!

Barbara Cassada said...

I am putting "Seaside, Florida" on Granddad's and my Bucket List!

jenn said...

um. it is basically mayberry: beach edition. sign me up! :) glad you had such a wonderful time!!

Niki said...

Love this..thanks so much for sharing! Now I want to plan a trip :) I wanted to ask where you got your bathing suits? they are all so cute and I'm having a hard time finding some I like. Thanks!

Courtney said...

holy cow.
so many thoughts...
this looks completely incredible!
this is one of the reasons I hate to have missed you at MB- 'cause I wanted to hear all about this in person, but I LOVE the post! Seaside should pay you for marketing, 'cause I'm ready to go!!!
Also, other random thoughts: LOVE your turquoise & coral bathing suit..and you look amazing for the record....and Rebekah looks SO grown up...and i love the picture with the four boys
and just wow...thanks for sharing! :)

Kelly Spencer said...

We are a family of five. We love to travel but as a family we have got stuck in work and responsibilities. We have been taking the easy solutions when planning vacations, so this year we are going to be little bit different. We are planning on our first real family road trip. I hope it will be the best vacation that we can ever have!