{ An Early Summer Getaway }

Our annual Family Medicine Residency retreat always falls a few weeks before Memorial Day, and this year before school was even out. Since we had “saved up” a few sick days from school, we let the kids miss Friday and we headed south to Panama City Beach a day early. We drove down Thursday night and got checked into our exact place from last year. They must only have so many condos available that have enough bed space for a family this big.The condos there are right on the beach with a pool just steps away too. The kids loved hopping from pool to beach and back again all weekend long.

The next morning the sun came shining through our window so early-I don’t know what it is about all that early morning sun shine-but it came at about 6am, just beckoning us to come and play. After hours of shopping and packing and organizing, this view out my window that morning was just what I needed-an open invitation to relax and have some fun. I think the late night movies the night before had helped our kids give us a little bit of a break and they managed to sleep in until about 8am. As soon as everyone was up, we grabbed some breakfast and were off for a fun filled day.

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The big kids hit the beach first, and the younger kids decided on swimming at the pool. The water was a bit chilly and it was kind of windy that first day, but they were not about to miss out. Even Ryan insisted he wasn’t cold, but would take a lot of towel brakes to warm up. Luckily, the second day was HOT and a lot less windy so the kids were able to enjoy the smaller waves in the ocean and the pool became a nice refreshing place to cool off.

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Ethan is still a bit too young for that much pool time, but was happy to spend most of the day in his stroller and in the shade down at the beach.

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When Ethan was born his eyelashes were barely noticeable, now look at those long things! They curl up in the corners and practically touch his eyebrows when he opens his eyes all of the way. I don’t know what it is, but Scott, Ryan, and Ethan all have the longest eyelashes I have ever seen. And just for the record-his eyes are pretty officially blue-so now the blue eyed ones in the family are “winning” with 6 of us.

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I love having our room within walking distance of the pool and beach. It’s so much easier to walk back for lunch and dinner instead of having to drag everything down to the beach and eat sandy food or cut our day short to stop and pack everything up to go back to eat. We wandered back for lunch, a short nap, some puzzles, and then the kids were ready to head back out for some more water time.

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Some of our friends will be graduating from the Residency program and moving in a couple of months. Scott and Carrington are in the same primary class at church and are quite a pair. Carrington’s mom, Amy, gets to teach them and tells me all about their fun. Let’s just say it involves Scott’s arm around Carrington’s shoulder and playing with her hair all during class. So funny! These three sure had fun the whole weekend. They were so cute as they looked for shells. Carrington showed me her “friendship shell” that Scott had given her and the one she gave him. My two little boys are sure going to miss their little friend.

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We have been to the beach enough times now with a baby to realize that a new 10x10ft canopy for shade was a must. We recently bought a new one that was way easier to put together than our last one. Once we had it up, we dug a little hole and covered it with a towel for Ethan’s little “bouncy seat” for the day. He loved the view, but the guy sure is a kicker these days, and within a few minutes he had the towel all bunched up and sand all over himself. So much for our novel bouncy seat idea.

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I love his cute little smile he shows us more of lately. There are some days that he looks so much like Ryan and others that he reminds me a lot of Austin still.

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My friend Amy (Carrington’s mom) getting her baby fix ..

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    My favorite picture from the whole trip I think. Those cute little puppy dog eyes sure melt my heart.

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Brianna’s best friend Ashleigh got to come with us again this year, and while they were out swimming she found the first couple of hermit crabs of the weekend. After that we found two more to add to our bucket. They were a lot of fun to watch crawl around, and sneak in and out of the sand. The kids had high hopes of bringing one of them home, but in the end we left our little friends there. The big one that is crawling around out of his shell was Ashleigh’s-she named him Kermit.

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Our cute teenagers-Brianna, Ashleigh, and Austin

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Proof I was actually at the beach too..

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Back at the room, Abby was getting her own little baby fix. We all just can’t get enough of this cute guy-I think we say about a hundred times a day-“You are just SO cute!” And that Abby with those little freckles splashed across her face-she is a pretty big cutie as well.

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More of our three musketeers…

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…Scott told me they were having a club meeting there around the table.

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By the end of Saturday we were getting ready to head back home, and the kids wanted just one more time down at the beach. They started digging two big holes-no reason besides just to dig. We finally convinced them to combine the two holes to make it big enough to all get in it. They dug their little hearts out until all of the kids fit in…

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…one by one…

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…and then we covered them up…

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..and then one by one they all got out again. Good times.

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We will miss you Panama City Beach…until next year.

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