Because we needed a bit more sand to bring home in the luggage, we headed back to the Santa Rosa beaches on Friday. It also happened to be our 16th wedding anniversary. When I mentioned to God I wanted to spend my anniversary on a beach with Scott, I neglected to say “Hawaii, sans kids.” Oh well, maybe for the 20th? I well tell you, the beach is “fun” with kids, but it is definitely not “relaxing.” Between keeping up with my niece and our kids, I counted to six so many times I lost count. I did love the beach, but I would be remiss without telling you that water COMPLETELY freaks me out. I am a hawk when my kids are around it, even though the older two are great swimmers.
After loads of fun in the water, we headed back to the house for a quick shower and some homemade pizza for lunch. We decided to give my brother, SIL and niece a little break from the Whitaker tornado and we embarked on a great adventure where we had a little crying, a sweet and unexpected reunion, a detour, a paint project and the best shaved ice I’ve ever eat. Let’s get to it, shall we?
During our vacation to Arkansas, we found ourselves starting a new family tradition: pottery painting. We created a wonderful platter that now sits in our kitchen and is the official “fruit holder.” It bears the handprints of our then-four children and says “Arkansas 2008”. In 2010, when we went to New Mexico we couldn’t find a pottery place to save our lives 🙁 2011 we found pneumonia (boo), but in 2012 we found Fort Walton Beach and a little pottery studio called “Fired Up.” When we walked in the door all she had were rooster plates, sunflower platters and frogs. Um, no. We asked where the nearest place to paint was and she directed us to Seaside. Mind you, the traffic was horrible, so we knew we had a drive ahead of us.
About that time, I received a text from my college roommate. She knew we were in Florida (as were they), but what we didn’t realize is that her hotel was (literally) around the corner. Y’all, she lives 12 hours away from us in Texas. I could not pass up the chance to hug her neck when I knew she was just minutes away. It was absolutely FABULOUS to see her, high five her kids and watch everyone live it up on the beach. I am so thankful we made that pit stop.
After an iPhone pic and a big hug, we said “until next time” and jumped in the van for Seaside. Wow. The traffic was horrible and we almost aborted the pottery mission. But, it was our 16th wedding anniversary and we really wanted to do it, so we kept plugging forward. We arrived in Seaside and it was just like out of a movie. No really. “The Truman Show” was filmed here. Crazy. Those houses are exactly as I remember them on the big screen. The pottery place was a total win. After the kids finished the base coats and gave me their thumbprints (used for the middle of the flowers), I painted the rest and they headed out for shaved ice.
When Scott returned, he gave me a taste of that goodness. Mark it down folks, Frostbites. Best shaved ice you will EVER eat. And, trust me, with five kids I’ve eaten a boatload of shaved ice.
We rolled back into Destin much later than we planned, but just in time to change clothes and all head to the beach for sunset pictures. Talk about perfect timing. These photos are some of my favorites from vacation.
After corralling all those little people, we enjoyed some great anniversary burgers back at the house. We put everyone to bed and then settled in for the Olympics opening ceremonies. Honestly? I can’t think of a better way for us to celebrate the big 1-6. It was a beautiful day, filled with many memories, and I spent it with the people I loved.
Tomorrow, Will and I take the vacation vertical, we experience yet another detour, enjoy dinner with a cherished friend and wrap up with BBQ and the bomb squad. Yep, you heard me correctly.