Monday, August 20, 2018


Welcome back, y'all!  In case you missed it, I've been recapping our trip to Orange Beach, AL and today I've got our final days.  Sigh.  I already want to go back.

If you need to catch up, you can find my previous posts here:

If you are thinking you might want to check out the Orange Beach/Gulf Shores area at some point, be sure to pin this so you can come back to it when you go to plan your trip.

Now.  Let's move it along to Day 5!


Day 5 started out with a little thunderstorm.  And I wasn't mad about that at all.  I love a good thunderstorm at the beach because they typically last just long enough to cool everything off and keep things interesting.

I watched the storm from the bed for a while.

I finally managed to get my lazy butt out of bed and make it to the balcony to catch the storm rolling on out.

Two of my favorite guys joined me for breakfast on the balcony.

And then we headed down to the beach for a full beach day!

The weather was perfection.  Slightly overcast and around 80 degrees.  I knew it wouldn't last so I enjoyed it while I could.

I told the boys to smile because Mama needs cute pictures!  And this is what I got.

And then I reminded them that if they smiled like normal people they could go play a lot quicker...

Listen, kids.  If you smile like a normal human the first time around, it'll be 3 seconds out of your life.  If you choose to cross your eyes, stick out your tongue, and/or flash the camera then we'll be here a LOT longer.  It will become a THING.  Mom will be irritated.  Y'all will be irritated.  And frankly, it will kill the buzz.  So smile, 1-2-3, and go about your day!


The boys loved that the beach wasn't crowded yet.  See all that empty space next to us?!  Yes!!

Shovels are a must at the beach.  They will dig and dig and dig...just to dig.

And this is one of my favorite pictures.  I can't even explain how much I adore these boys.  And seeing them so happy just makes ME so happy.

I sat in my chair and watched them play...

...and then the beach started to get busier. A big group of about 10 came in and set up their umbrellas probably 10 feet away from us. And y'all.  There was NO ONE ELSE on the other side of them for probably 50 yards.  They could have spread themselves out so much farther but nope, they parked their umbrellas and chairs practically within arms reach of us and then proceeded to throw a frisbee around...and it landed in my lap or on my chair FOUR TIMES.  I kid you not.

Mama was gettin' a little irritated.  ;)  Especially when that frisbee flipped sand into my drink.  #notcool

Thankfully, they left and went up to the pool after a while so that saved me from my bad mood.

The boys set up the new travel cornhole set (which is amazing by the way) and got a little game going.

This was such a good buy!  Not only was it great for the beach (it all folds into a slim little carrying case) but it'll be great for BBQ's, tailgating, block name it. The fun can go anywhere.

And then Craig got bored.  So he decided he wanted to be buried.  

He wasn't happy that he wasn't buried deeper but that is hard work!  He said the sand felt good so we tossed a towel over his head and left him there.  ;)

He's under that Gatorade towel!

And then Mason said he wanted in on that action.  He isn't crazy about being buried so we only buried the lower half.

Matthew, on the other hand, went for it.

After our fun day on the beach, we showered up and headed to one of the boys' favorite places--The Adventure Island Arcade.

Adventure Island has a little of everything.  Go-karts, putt-putt, arcade, bumper boats...and it's practically across the street from our condo.

We decided that we'd spend our night at the arcade and then grab dinner.  We were saving putt-putt and go-karts for a different venue the next day.

It is so sad to watch their faces go from crazy elated at getting 500 tickets to seeing them realize they only thing they can "buy" with 500 tickets is a Blow Pop and a bouncy ball.  Hahaha.

We had no plan for dinner so we did the whole "Let's just drive around until we see something we like." thing.  We ended up at Picnic Beach because we thought it looked so cute.  

By this point, it was 9pm though and we were losing Matthew.  The restaurant was really cute though.  It was a cross between organic randomness and a BBQ joint.  (Think kale/cucumber lemonade, organic smoothies and pulled pork sandwiches with mac-n-cheese.)

They had a wall of games that you could choose from while you waited for your food, so Mason picked Go Fish for us.

We chose a picnic table on the porch and the atmosphere was just PERFECT.

Poor Matthew was #dunzo.

I snapped a pic of our food, mid-meal.  haha.

I got the pulled pork sandwich and mac-n-cheese.  It was delicious!!  I wasn't sure what to expect from an organic/crunchy BBQ joint but I was very impressed.

Craig got some kind of BBQ platter. He really liked it too.

When we left, Mason was in a great mood so I grabbed a pic with my dimpled baby.

As soon as we got back to the condo, we all climbed into bed and were out pretty quick.  We were getting a good night's sleep for our last full day!


The weather on the morning of our last full day was amazing.  Is this not perfection?

The boys headed down to the beach for a bit in the morning while I stayed and tried to get a jump start on packing.  There was no part of me that wanted to stay up late that night trying to get alllllllll our junk packed up. So I did that until it was time to head out for parasailing!

The boys had been saying all week that they wanted to go parasailing.  I didn't feel one way or another about it so I let them have it.  I figured I'd just go on the boat and watch.

We got to the marina and it was so peaceful over there!

Matthew and Mason were pumped.  And nervous!

The guys got their life jackets on and then I saw the jet skis.  Since I wasn't parasailing, I decided to just see if they may have a jet ski available for the hour that the guys would be gone and they had one left!  I was sold.  I LOVE being out on a jet ski.  So this was a fun little spur-of-the-moment decision.

Craig paid for the photo package because he wasn't allowed to take his phone on the boat but the workers forgot to take any!  (We got our money back.)  So we have no pictures of them in the air which is a huge bummer.  :(  But they had a great time.

After my hour of jet skiing and the boys parasailing adventure, we stopped back at the condo we could change and wipe off all the sea salt spray!

And then it was time for The Track.

The Track is a family fun park in Gulf Shores that has go-karts, putt-putt, bumper boats, kiddie rides, an arcade etc.  But our favorite attraction is the wooden go-kart track (Wild Woody).

Mason was determined to drive a go-kart all by himself this year on the main track.

 But it was 9000 degrees outside, so we decided to hit the bumper boats and get ourselves soaked before moving on to putt-putt and go-karts.  It was a pretty smart decision and kept us cool(ish).

Mason was right at the mark when they checked to see if he was tall enough to drive all by himself on the main track.  He was so excited!  And I was pretty nervous.  I may or may not have been his shadow the whole time he was out there...

After the main track, we went to the putt-putt course.  The boys kept themselves occupied with all of this...

And then we hit the links!  ;)

The boys sat down at the end and tallied the scores.  (Mom came in a close second behind Dad.  Just FYI.)

And then it was time for the best attraction there.  Wild Woody is the fastest go-kart track I've ever been on.  It is so fun!  If you're at The Track, be sure to walk down to Wild Woody!!  Don't miss it!

They go fast enough to where I had to take off my hat.

On our way back from the super fast track, Mason saw the little kid track wanted to drive again.

And he was living it up, all smiles, and going about .4 miles an hour.

While Matthew was like, "Are you kidding me?  This is it?"  hahaha

With our final remaining credits, Craig took Matthew on the go-karts one more time...

...but Mason wanted to ride the Spinning Coaster.  We rode this last year too and although it's a pretty tame and small ride, it is so much fun!

After we got back to the condo, it was dinner time.  Matthew's loves (LOVES) ranch style beans so I made him some of those and he took his beans, milk, a cookie, and his iPad out onto the balcony and was literally living his best life.

We ordered takeout from Hurricane Grill & Bar which is one of our favorite casual restaurants in Orange Beach.  (The BLT Tacos are AMAZING and the garlic truffle die for.)  And while I packed, Craig took the boys down to the beach and pool.


Our last day!!  Ugh.  So sad.

But the best part about my morning?  WATCHING ALL THE DOLPHINS!

It was impossible to get decent pictures of all the dolphins that came by but for about 30 minutes, we watched a giant pod swim by SO CLOSE to the shore.  There had to have been at least 10-15 dolphins out there.  I took some video from the balcony and it should be in my "Travel" highlights on Instagram if you want to see them.

There was a dophin cruise boat that kept turning around and going back and forth to catch up with them.  Everyone on the beach was on dolphin watch.

And then it was time to go.  :(

On our way out, we stopped off at a souvenir place to let the boys spend the money their grandparents gave them.

They defintely needed their pictures taken as pirates in front of the giant boat.

I vetoed this little souvenier.  Baby sharks in water?  Is this real?  It was distrubing.

We left Orange Beach around 11:30 and made it to Alexandria, LA (Craig's parents house) by 5:30.  The boys were excited to show off their goodies.

And then run around out back with Sadie, Craig's parents' new rescue dog. 

Sadie and I bonded.  She is such a sweet pup!

Craig had to ge this picture taken with her before we left the next morning.

And so did I.  ;)

I took over the driving duties back to Mckinney since I had somehow managed to avoid that the whole trip.  And Craig clearly took advantage of me driving.  He stole the Mason's face mask and pillow and crashed.

And what good wife wouldn't take a picture of this?!

Y'all don't tell.  #shhhhhh

We got back to Mckinney, safe and sound and it was back to reality pretty quickly.

So that was the #nallvacay2018!  We had the best time, made such good memories and our kids were in heaven.  And that's really what it's all about, right?!

And speaking of kids, today I'm sending mine back to school and there are NO tears here, friends.  I love my kids but  We are all so ready to get back at it and I am craving a quiet house so I can get more work done.  I think we were all starting to get on each other's nerves.

Happy Monday!!



  1. From the looks of these posts, you guys had a great time! It makes me wanna head back to the beach STAT!

  2. Looks like the perfect vacation for your family! I love the beach too! We were in Destin last week and it was perfect. Your in-laws rescue dog, Sadie, is adorable! Do you know where they found her?

    1. She was abandoned at a vet's office by her owners who couldn't pay the vet bill. She had been there for a couple of months, I think they said. My in-laws used to have a toy poodle when Craig was growing up so when they Sadie's picture they just had to have her. :)

  3. wendy alexander11:46 AM

    Ranch style beans are so good. :) Especially if you eat them with mac and cheese. HAHAHA! seriously, its good. The sand burying pics gave me a little bit of anxiety. I would not be able to do it. AT ALL! Looks like a fantastic trip! Oh, and I feel like I need to mention, in the pic with you and Mason, you look so much like your mom :)

    1. I've never tried them with mac n cheese but maybe I'll have to! We grew up eating them on our tacos! Sooo good! And yes, I'm definitely starting to look more and more like my mom!

  4. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!

  5. What a great vacation!!!!!!!!!!! So happy you all had a great beach vacation! OMG Sadie looks SO much like our baby Sydney we had for 16.5 years and lost in 2012. My heart melted.


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