Category Archives: Florida 2010

Alexander 2010 Family Vacation ~ Day 3

Day 3:  6:00am the alarm goes off.  The typical thought of ‘Already!?’ goes through my head. Then I remember…I’m on vacation! I hop out of bed eager to sneak a peek at the beach.  I grab my camera and tiptoe out of the bedroom, through the house, and out the sliding glass door.  The sound of the waves on the shore, the smell of the salty air, and the fact that I am nearly alone in enjoying this moment is amazing.  I sat on the steps of the balcony relishing the experience.  It was as if God had made this beautiful morning just for me…I was enjoying it immensely, but wanted to share it with my family.  The sun was starting to peek up over the horizon, so I went inside & coaxed everyone out of bed with promises of breakfast and coffee.  Clad in pj’s my sleepy-eyed children lumbered out of bed and out the door.  The looks of awe on their little faces at the first glimpse of the beach were priceless.  The photos of the sunrise weren’t as spectacular as I had hoped because of the overcast sky, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

Sunrise on Cocoa Beach

We ate breakfast, donned our swimsuits, grabbed our beach gear & headed down the steps and onto the beach.  We were once again greeted by a local, and the girls made a beeline for the waves, while Grayson tried to figure out how to walk in the sand.

The bravest of the crabs...welcoming us to Cocoa Beach!

Heading straight for the waves!

Grayson's first beach experience.

The majority of our day consisted of the girls catching waves with their boogie boards, and Grayson either playing in the sand or attempting to leap over the waves with the help of Marie-Antoinette.

Running into the surf to catch some waves!

Grayson burying his hand in the sand.

Grayson doing his 'cool pose'.

Grayson & his wave jumping partner...Marie Antionette

Kara and Trinity were magically transformed in to mermaids, and even Greg played in the sand.  My Uncle Ron extended the invite to come back any time…we will be taking him up on that offer for sure. =)

Kara as a mermaid.

Trinity transformed into a mermaid.

Daddy playing in the sand.

Uncle Ron & Greg

Lunch was brought to us courtesy of my Aunt Sunni & Marie Antionette…delicious sandwiches, chips & fresh fruit.  While we waited for tummies to settle, we collected shells, played in the sand and visited a nearby turtle nest.  (One of the turtles we had missed the previous night because of the crab attack my being scared of the crabs.)

Me & my Aunt Sunni

Sea Turtle Nest

Me & Greg on Cocoa Beach

We continued our beach day, nearly oblivious to the crowds that were gathering to stake their claim to a good spot for that evening’s fireworks.  We had other plans, of course…our hotel awaited!  Even after being at the beach ALL DAY, the kids were reluctant to leave.  I reassured them it wouldn’t be our last visit to the beach, and we had much more in store for them.  Everyone pitched in and gathered our stuff, which somehow took more trips to bring back to the beach house than it had taken to bring out to the beach originally, and the kids had to ‘rinse off’ about 15 times each, but we finally got everyone back to the beach house and changed.  After loading up and saying our goodbyes, we headed to our hotel…The Westgate Palace in Orlando.

Alexander 2010 Family Vacation ~ Day 2

Day 2 began with the attitude of “Let’s shower & get the heck out of here.”  We thought ahead about the comfort of travelling with 4 kids and all our luggage, and purchased a ‘saddlebag’ that hangs on the back of our SUV to house most of our bags.  What we didn’t think of is how big a pain it was for someone who is ‘vertically challenged’ like myself to assist with the attaching of the aforementioned saddlebag.  It involves balancing on one foot standing on the back bumper, trying not to be scorched by the lava hot roof of the truck while threading straps through the luggage rack bars, and helping lift an 80+ lb. bag while securing clips.  I must admit, by the end of our journey, we had it down to a science.
Not long after leaving the “hotel”, I busted out a surprise for the kids from the Activity Bag…new DS games for all.  Not just any DS games, these were like DS games on crack…the smallest cartridge containing 55 games, and the largest 116. And these are real games, not lame ones…all in English from a company based out of Hong Kong for about $16/each.  The kids played the games until they passed out, and Mom took the opportunity to snap some pics…even one of Daddy. hehe
Anyways back to the point, we had a pretty uneventful drive from Alabama, through Georgia, and down to Cocoa Beach.  We arrived in Cocoa Beach to visit with my Uncle Ron & Aunt Sunni Rae, and stay the night in the beach house.  We arrived around 8:30pm, and I got the bright idea of taking a walk on the pitch black beach with my husband.  My uncle had said the turtles had been coming ashore to lay their eggs, so we might luck out & see one.  As most of you know, I’m not a huge animal person, but was excited about the possibility of seeing a turtle.  We left the kids eating pizza & discussing our trip with my family while Greg & I walked down the steps and out onto the beach.  The experience of the ocean at night is amazing.  You can’t see much, but you can sense it’s power.  I love when you can actually feel the greatness of God’s creation.  We took a flashlight to watch out for turtles, and began our walk.  Sweeping the light back and forth in front of us, I saw movement.  I stopped suddenly, and let out a little scream as a crab scurried unbelievably fast across the sand and into the sea.  We laughed at the fact that I was frightened by the little crab, then saw how many crabs there actually were.  It was crazy…I had no idea they were so fast.  This is the closest shot I could get with my phone.
Needlesstosay, I’m a weenie & we didn’t stay on the beach long.  Considering how skittish I was about the crabs, I probably would have lost my mind if I actually encountered a giant turtle.  We walked down the street enjoying the music and laughter coming from the local bars & restaurants, the warm air and smell of the ocean, and looking at the items for sale in the windows of the darkened shops.
When we returned to the beach house, the kids were ready for bed and excited about hitting the beach in the morning.  I set my alarm for 6am to be sure to catch the sunrise, and headed to bed.

Alexander 2010 Family Vacation ~ Day 1

Our 2010 family vacation adventure began as planned.  Packed and waiting for Daddy to get home from work, the kids began asking all kinds of questions about our destination.  Where were we headed? Eventually, Cocoa Beach, FL, would be our first official stop, with a brief rest between Birmingham & Atlanta.  Daddy arrived home from work, we ate a quick dinner, loaded up the truck, prayed safety and fun over our trip (and that our A/C would work just fine), and away we went.
I took the first shift of driving, kids occupying themselves with their DS’s, and Greg attempting to nap before his turn.  Within 45 minutes of our departure, we already had the dreaded question…’Are we getting close?’  I answered it with a ‘Closer then we were at home.’  (Before falling asleep we only had the question ‘Are we still in Arkansas?’ 2 more times or so…not bad.)  After enjoying a beautiful sunset, another call from the back, ‘Are we going to take a potty break?’ So we pulled into the nearest gas station to take turns taking in the kids…while the other parent stayed with the truck.  Having all our clothing & stuff hanging off the back of the truck made me a little nervous to leave the truck unattended.  Upon returning from taking all the girls to the bathroom…which was a 10 minute ordeal, we were notified our vehicle was under attack.  Greg and Grayson had killed 14 mosquitoes that had infiltrated the truck during our absence.  After winning the battle we continued on our journey along with our  new found friend…Red Bull.
Wow. I was skeptical that this magical beverage would be able to keep me awake since no matter how much sleep I get I can only stay awake to drive for 2 hours max once it gets dark outside.  I was blown away.  When it was my turn again, I was ready to drive straight through to Cocoa Beach.  I was for sure I could make it at least until Atlanta.  There were periods of surreal-ness…not another car on the road, streetlights glowing in the early morning haze…that were reminiscent of the Spongebob episode when he accidentally boarded a bus out of Bikini Bottom.  At one pit stop at a huge gas station, it was only us, the unfriendly gas station attendant, and one other patron who was limping & dragging his leg walking through the parking lot.
Needless to say, I was in a bit of a hurry to get out of there.  When we hit the Talladega area, Greg and I decided the kids looked a little miserable in their strange contorted sleep positions and that they really needed to be able to stretch out.  Unfortunately, all the decent hotels in and around the area were booked due to an event where Corvettes were racing at the speedway.  We ended up in a cheap, but icky hotel.  Not the worst I’ve stayed in, but definitely in the bottom 20%.  We rolled into our hotel ‘Americas Best Value Inn’ around 4am, and were fed, showered, and headed to Atlanta by 10:30am.