Our 2015 Family Vacation

*Please note: With an awareness of my family’s safety and privacy, I do not refer to our children by name on this public blog or its Facebook page. They are being referred as Spock, Stitch, and Jack-Jack (listed by birth order from oldest to youngest). Though I may post pictures, I intentionally keep their faces hidden.  Family and friends, please help me keep their privacy by refraining from using their real names in comments. Thank you for understanding!

We had the opportunity to go back to Pensacola, Florida for our family vacation this year!  Because we loved the area when we visited last year and because my sister and brother-in-law are still there, we decided to go again.  Eric’s work has continued to cause much stress for him and our family dynamic so we were ready for time away to reconnect.

Eric and I did not to tell the boys that we were going on vacation.  We secretly prepared and packed and, one evening, we put the boys into their pajamas and started driving.  We told them that there would be a surprise in the morning when they work up.

Lots of caffeine and upbeat music later, we were a mere 45 minutes away from our destination.  The kids woke up and we pulled into a McDonalds to get them some breakfast (and coffee… thank God for coffee).  “SURPRISE,” Eric yelled as we pulled into the drive through.  Spock and Stitch’s confused faces at our great “surprise” was hilarious.

Their expressions were even better when they saw Uncle Jonathon (Aunt Kelsey was at work)!

Johnathon is in in the Navy (we’re so proud of him for his service) and is stationed in Pensacola.  He and my sister graciously allowed us to stay with them for a week.  Seriously, anyone willing to let our three rambunctious boys invade their space for so long must really love us! (I was so excited to get this picture!)

We spent quite a bit of time at the beach.  Unlike last year, the boys did not battle any pirates.  I told them that they had permanently frightened the pirates away!  There are few places as relaxing as a beach.  I don’t know, though, they were a bit crowded for my taste – ha!

Eric and Spock spent a lot of time catching hermit crabs and sea slugs.  Spock was fascinated with the slugs because they inked purple when they were touched.  It took a few visits to the beach for Stitch and Jack-Jack to warm up to the water but, once they did, they were hooked!

One day we visited an alligator farm.  We had a great time and even had the opportunity to hold a small, hissing one!  There were workers that feed monstrous gators by hand (and they managed to keep all their limbs)!

It is safe to say that one of our favorite spots in Pensacola is the Naval Aviation Museum.  If you’re ever in the area, it is a MUST.  Admission is free and it is incredibly well done.  One could easily spend the day there reading the information and seeing the sights.  Because it is hands-on, it is also a great place for kids.  I think we climbed into every cockpit available!

After a few hours in the museum, we headed outside and watched the Blue Angels practice.  I can’t even begin to articulate how much we loved their show!  We are now forever fans!  The show had only just begun and Spock looked over with eyes full of wonder and said, “I want to be THAT!” I think we could have all echoed that sentiment!

Another of our favorite things to do when we visit Florida is go crab hunting at night!  We had fun filling a cooler full and then releasing them!

Johnathon and Kelsey watched the boys one night so that Eric and I could enjoy a night alone in Destin!  We stayed in a nice place near the water and enjoyed delicious seafood for dinner while sitting outside underneath sparkling lights. It was romantic but I told Eric the next morning that you know you’re parents of young ones when you finally get a night to yourself and you’re both asleep by 9:30 and out cold for NINE hours – HA!  We left feeling refreshed!

Thank you, Johnathon and Kelsey, for watching and entertaining the boys so we could have that time alone!  And Jack-Jack, someday when you read this, a “thank you” from Aunt Kelsey for sparing her any nasty diapers and saving it for the moment your mommy walked back through the doors!

Our 2015 vacation was outstanding and one we will talk about for a long time!  No matter where you go, nothing beats fun times together!

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