The Emerald Coast

In my opinion Destin has the best beaches in the United States. Unless you can convince me otherwise, there is NO PLACE that has such clear beautiful water and sugary sandy white beaches. LOVE.

We had a pretty quick trip (although it never feels long enough). We left last Friday and came home Tuesday (just in time to start back at school Wednesday). No trip is complete without a mini-crisis and this one was no exception. I was up puking the night before we left (exhaustion, nerves, bad food?) so I felt really "off" while I packed. I forgot to throw Luke's swimsuits into his bag (I actually almost left without mine but I remembered them at the last minute- not sure why I didn't remember his). Luckily Lulu had a pair that she was planning to give him next year (we were spending that night with my parents and we were half way there when we realized it).

On Saturday (my birthday) we started out at the pool. And empty pool is JUST the way I like it!
Luke and Lulu were checking out a lizard...

Luke has been doing really well with "swimming" so we practiced a little bit:
He is still getting used to feeling "weightless" in the water so holding on to the railing was his favorite thing! Later in the day we did get him to go under and hold his breath. He is really proud:
{and no we don't believe in arm floaties}
Then we headed to the beach for some fun in the sand and sun. Here is my sweet boy posing with his birthday Momma!
Later that night my mom had to pick my dad up from the airport so she graciously kept little man while hubby and I snuck away for a date...

As we were walking to dinner someone sweetly left me a birthday message on the sand with seaweed... actually we have no idea who did this... and I'm sure it wasn't for me. Maybe Obama? We do share a birthday. But it was a fun reminder of the day!! I mean what are the chances in the 2 blocks of beach that we had to walk to the restaurant that we see that. Too funny. 
Birthday dinner at the Crab Trap:
Josh had an assortment of some pretty delicious seafood!
Our waitress was even kind enough to throw in a free dessert (WITHOUT singing to me- I politely told her that I wasn't into the hooplah of singing). She also wrote us a sweet note. 

Walking back the sun was setting and it was just beautiful!

And no beach trip is complete without the toes picture!
Sunday we took full advantage of the tax free holiday in Florida and we hit up the local outlets. Plus with birthday money it was a great day of shopping! It's amazing what 0 tax and 10-20% military discount can buy!

We spent some time in the condo just hanging out too. Luke and Pops liked to sit on the balcony while watching the ducks and their babies. 

Little man likes to cheese it up for the camera:
He also sat around and ate snacks (I promise he's wearing underwear in this picture hehe):
He also knew where the cookies were kept. And he'd give this sweet shy look when he wanted some. 
Monday was our last day to enjoy the beach. It was pretty overcast (and there was actually really severe weather in Panama City not too far away), but the rain held off until after 1pm so we squeezed in some fun that morning. 
Luke doesn't really like how loud it is at the shore, so it took alot to get him in. He still preferred to be held. 

Look at that clear water!!

Luke stalked a family that was catching hermit crabs. The boy was obsessed. He seriously spent 45 minutes watching them run around (there were 3 total). The family sweetly let Luke play and dig around the crabs with their shovel. They were really sweet. 
A sweet moment:
This is totally random but I LOVE boca clips! These things are absolute towel lifesavers...
{Josh thinks they're silly- Men just don't understand}
We decided it was time for little man to take a nap- he played pretty hard in the sand. Here he is deciding if he was actually going to follow through. 
And it didn't take long...
Sweet baby:
After the beach and on our way to lunch it started POURING. We got off the beach just in time. We ate lunch at Fudpuckers. What an experience that is! Live alligators and great food!
We were sad to leave at the end of the trip, but all good things must come to an end. Before pulling out we stopped at this coffee shop that we lovingly re-named "Bad Donkey Cafe". 

We typically wouldn't give our business to a place that uses "ugly words" in their title- but after reading up about where they got the name- we were sold on it. Apparently the donkeys brought the rich Kona Coffee beans down the Hawaiian mountains. We know donkeys can be extremely stubborn, but these donkeys worked tirelessly. We absolutely with Kona coffee when we visited in 2004. So we were eager to try it out. Unfortunately 25 other people thought the same thing that morning. We just couldn't spend the time to stand in line for coffee when we had 7+ hours on the road. Maybe next time. It's a place we'll never forget!! 

A 6 hour trip turned into an 11 hour trip with a 2 year old (who didn't have a potty accident THE WHOLE TRIP). We also stopped to eat a pretty great dinner, and we had to pick up our truck from my parents house (and unpack their van and re pack ours). 

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