Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wonderful Watercolor

For years now, I've been hearing nothing but wonderful things about the beautiful beaches and family friendly activities of the planned communities on 30A. After spending all of last summer looking at all my friends' pictures, I made a little mental note that we should do our next big vacation there. With a little luck, we were able to convince the McGuires to come along. This basically made for a great vacation filled with lots of laughing, a few meltdowns, and hopefully lots of good memories!

We started things off on the right foot when the McGuires met us in Houston to fly into Panama City. It was a quick 1.5 hour flight and we were there!

I'm kinda obsessed with these matching outfits for Olivia and I.  But best part is how obsessed SHE is with them.  I know she won't want to be matching with mamma for long, so I will take it while I can get it!

And we're off!

Once we landed, these kiddos COULD NOT CONTAIN their excitement!

This picture of Olivia picking up Win is pretty good foreshadowing as to the rest of the trip.  This visit will be known as the one where Olivia's love for baby Win was solidified.  She told Matt and I multiple times how cute he was and how much she wanted him to be her baby brother.

She was constantly wanting to help take care of him and hold him.

I can't really blame her.  Who wouldn't love this cuteness?!

Once we got the rental car and loaded up, we headed to Seaside to check out those famous food trucks!  There are all manner of food options along the block.

The grown-ups decided to share a bunch of different grilled cheese variations from The Meltdown.  This is one of my favorite parts about the McGuires - they are always up for sharing so we can try more delicious options!

The kids ran around on the pavilion while we ate.  It was a pretty awesome way to start the trip.

Then we headed to Watercolor (which is a stone's throw from Seaside) to find our house.  There were several condos within this larger house that we were able to rent.  It was in the Park District of the Watercolor Resort and we lucked into it being a great location.  It was close to the beach, pools, parks, and tennis courts so we were all thrilled.

The kids were excited to find a "secret hideout" which they dubbed as "no grown ups allowed" and the bunkbeds (which neither one slept in the entire time we were there).  

They immediately snuck into the lollipop stash and went to the "hideout"

Olivia loves to "sneak" things - she will sneak nutella at home and on 2 recent play-dates, she has been the instigator behind convincing her friends to sneak various treats.  Lucky for her, Harris was a happy participant and even baby Win got in on the "sneaking!" 

The house also had a great balcony where the kids played and ate

Despite a somewhat dreary forecast, we really lucked out with the weather, The first morning was the only rain we had.  So we headed to the grocery store (which is always more fun with Matt around) to stock up for the week.  I think we did a great job of balancing eating at home and still getting to try a bunch of local restaurants.

Then we spent the rest of the morning inside watching the rain and playing with our games/toys.

But, after naps, the sun was out so we loaded up on bikes (our main mode of transportation for the week) and headed to the beach.  While Olivia has a bike at home, Matt and I don't.  And we certainly don't have a trailer to pull her in.  She LOVED being pulled in the trailer.  Most times she and Harris sat together and they loved the cool breeze and watching the scenery.  (Note, the night we got home we went to dinner at Southwells, a local hamburger restaurant by our house and she cried because we couldn't bike there.)

Whichever parent drove the big kids also got to eavesdrop on their conversations.  A few of my favorites are:

Olivia: Harris, do you like my nails?
Harris: Yes, I do like them.  They're pink.  I like pink.
Olivia: I thought so... (as if they were an old married couple who had been together 50 years)

Harris:  Look at our knees.  I have little knees.  You have big knees.
Olivia: Yes.  And my mom has little knees and your mom has big knees.
(Good to have balance among the families?!)

The beach was a huge hit.  It was such pretty, clear water and the kids loved going out far and jumping over the waves.

One afternoon we had some front row beach chairs and the grown-ups were able to sit in the chairs for over an hour while the kids worked to build a "pool" in the sand in front of us.  For well of over an hour they dug and made multiple trips to get buckets of water to pour into their pool.  When we left, that thing was bone-dry.  Not a drop of water to be found.  But they were so proud of it and talked many times about their "awesome pool."

Early one morning, we hit up Charlie's Donut Truck in Alys Beach and enjoyed some delicious donuts and let the kids run around a bit on the lawn.

The grown-ups were able to sneak away one night with a babysitter watching the kids for a delicious dinner at Cafe 30A.  

We also took several trips to Seaside to enjoy the yummy food there.  One of our favorite spots was Shrimp Shack with its beautiful view overlooking the ocean.

After a long, hot bike ride, the kids were happy to have a cool breeze and a smoothie

They were all feeling the love.


We also had a great meal at Pickles

And, the one Olivia was most excited about - Frostbites sno cone truck.

We also made our way to The Hub 30A, a great outdoor space surrounded by different restaurants and foodtrucks.  The kids had fun running around and the grown-ups had a drink and watched some TV.

On this trip (and in their general life), Olivia and Harris definitely know how to press each other's buttons.  They can go from best friends to violent competitors in seconds.  These cute chairs/tables at the Hub proved to be the perfect object for a fight.  Until, a stranger entered the scene.  A cute little girl came up to us and tried to be friends with this little gang and our little ones were having none of it.  While he had just pulled a table away from Olivia himself, as soon as this girl tried to take a table from her, Harris got mad.  He yelled at her not to take the table "from my friend."  The two of them then teamed up for the rest of the time and made sure she didn't take the chairs from each other. 


Our last full day there was on the Fourth of July, so we started the day off with some swimming and patriotic sunglasses.


The resort we were staying at had 6 pools so we tried to check most of them out.  All of these kids take to the water like little fish!

After naps we changed into our matching firework shirts.   

And then we headed to Rosemary Beach (another planned community about 8 miles from Watercolor) to check things out the famous Sugar Shak.

The kids were somewhat overwhelmed by all the delicious, sweet options but ultimately Harris and Win decided on ice cream and Olivia got a sno cone.

We walked around the town a bit and happened upon this Lady Liberty who gave the big kids a turn holding her torch.

And we checked out the beautiful beach there.

That evening we headed to the the Seaside Amphitheater for a patriotic concert.  We enjoyed a little picnic before the show started


The performers were The Victory Belles, 3 women in red, white and blue dresses who sang all manner of patriotic songs.

Olivia was thrilled to see how pretty they looked.

All the kids enjoyed some dancing

(PS.  I am certain that if someone had a picture of me in college dancing at one of the fraternity houses, this is exactly what I would have looked like. The fear this picture causes in me cannot be overstated!)

Cute little baby Win made himself right at home in some empty chairs.  

And at some point, the music apparently put Harris and Olivia in a lovey mood:

These pictures instantly reminded me of their lovefest on our annual vacation 2 years ago!  

We then asked Olivia if she would take a picture of the grown-ups and asked Harris if he would make silly faces to make sure we smiled.

This is the face Harris made:

Which caused his parents to burst into uncontrollable laughter.  I love this picture of L&J so much. One evening we all agreed one of the best parts of being a parent is when your kids are funny and can make you laugh.  This picture is such a good representation of that sentiment and  I'm so glad Olivia was able to capture it!

Once we got our giggles out, we finally got a good one of the 4 of us.

And after the concert, Olivia got to take her picture with the Victory Belles, which she loved!

The next morning we were sad to say goodbye to our fun trip.

But having a friend at the airport, always makes things more fun (love these little cuties in their new Watercolor/Seaside shirts!)

We all watched our iPads on the way home

And once we said good-bye to the McGuires in Dallas, we took the last leg of the trip back to Houston.  Miss O promptly fell asleep.

And Matt and I high-fived for a successful summer vacation!