This past week we went to Gulf Shores to meet up with the Anders family for a vacation. There were a lot of things going on in everyone's lives, so we were a little worried we weren't all going to be able to come together, however everything worked out and we are so happy that everyone made it.
The drive down was very long from Odessa and Blue Springs at around 16-18 hours. For us, it was a six hour drive and although much shorter, we were pretty apprehensive about it. Paige has just recently been potty trained and we weren't very sure how it would all go. We packed everything in the SUV, got the kids a bunch of DVD's and movies for their iPads, and set off in the morning on Saturday. The trip went surprisingly well and although there was a little traffic the entire journey took about 7.5 hours. The kids were wonderful the entire ride, very content to play, watch their shows, talk and relax. Connor did ask "how much longer" around 100 times, but that is pretty natural.
At Gulf Shores, we unpacked in to a condo we shared with Amanda, Ryan, Graydon and Teresa. Grandma, Grandpa and the Rudolphs were right next door. All the condos shared a pool and beach access and we spent most of our time during the day going between the beach and pool.
The beach was a short walk away and it was a bit different than the beaches in Florida. The area where the waves hit the beach was a little steeper than we were used to and the water was nice and warm. There were a bunch of little fish in the water and I caught three of them and we kept them in a bucket for a little while before letting them go.
We took a few walks on the beach together in the daytime and at night.
The kids loved the pool. Paige and Connor both swam well throughout the trip and it was fun to have the 9 foot deep end in the pool. Connor even swam all the way down to the bottom in the deep end a few times and practiced diving too.
On Tuesday, Grandpa and Grandma took the grandchildren, minus Graydon, to play mini-golf and to eat lunch at Taco Bell.
Andrea and I ate at Shrimp Basket pretty often for lunch. We love their Po-boys and sweet tea. On Monday we took the Rudolph kids there for lunch.
Each night we ate at a different restaurant. On Sunday we ate at Tacky Jack's and took a bunch of pics. I love their big nacho basket.
Afterwards, we all went to Scoops for ice cream!
On Tuesday night, we went out for a fun night on the town without the kids. We started off at Bahama Bob's for dinner. The drinks didn't exactly taste great, but the atmosphere was nice and we enjoyed our drinks and dinner together.
After dinner we walked down the beach to the Hangout and had a few more drinks and then walked to Scoops. The boys had a bit more fun than the girls, but we all had a good time and had a memorable night.
The kids slept together on an air mattress at first. They toss and turn like crazy and in one night alone Paige fell out of the bed three times. Eventually we moved them to cushions on the floor and they did much better. I took a pic of them sleeping one night and you can see what a disaster it was in their bed. Connor was completely upside down and out of the covers. Paige had kicked off the covers, then got cold and wrapped herself in the drapes that were hanging by the bed.
On Wednesday night, we all went to LuLu's together. We had a two hour wait for a table, even arriving fairly early in the evening. There were all kinds of areas for the kids to play, however we'd just bathed our kids after being at the beach and most of the area was very sandy and hot. The wait was a bit long, but the food was delicious.
Connor, Drew and Allison took a turn in the "Hurricane Simulator".
After dinner at LuLu's, Paige went home to the condo with Teresa and we went to ride Go Karts with Drew, Allison, Nate and Abby. Grandpa and Grandma came along to watch.
We found a very small track in one area where Connor could drive some small Go Karts, but he didn't want to drive. He liked to ride with us and really enjoyed himself. There were two big tracks and it was busy and the tracks were pretty congested. We were involved in a number of crashes when I drove with him, but he didn't seem to phased by them. On our last drive together he rode with Andrea and some bad drivers got in a wreck in front of her and she wasn't able to avoid them and hit them pretty hard. Connor was crying quite a bit afterwards and she pulled in to stop after that. She was worried he had gotten hurt, but he was fine. Knowing Connor, he was probably just upset that they'd crashed and didn't get around the traffic jam.
I took my big fancy camera along and each night before dinner I'd try to snap some pics of everyone all dolled up. Got some cute pics of everyone looking nice.
Teresa, Andrea's cousin, came along with us on the trip and we have to mention what a big help she was. Andrea and Amanda both chipped in to bring her along and to pay her as our nanny for the trip. She stayed with us in our condo along with the Gobles. With the three kids in our condo, it wouldn't have been near as relaxing of a trip without her help. With her along, we were able to go out a couple nights with just the adults and she was always a big help at nap time and when we were coming and going to the pool and beach. Two years ago we'd done the same trip without her and it was definitely easier and more enjoyable with her around.
We are so thankful that were were all able to make it to Gulf Shores for the trip. It was a memorable reunion and we got to spend priceless quality time with the family.