Sunday, July 22, 2012

Beach Trip - Day One and Two

We just returned from a spectacular week at the beach with our family!  We gathered in Fort Morgan, Alabama to celebrate my mom Lana's 70th birthday!  We planned activities that we thought she would love and spent the week talking, laughing and enjoying our time together.  It was so much fun.

Of course, we took hundreds and hundreds of pictures.  I don't know how people can go on vacation and not take a million pictures.  How do you remember what you did.  My vacation is just winding up today and I already have trouble remembering what we did each day!  

I am going to preserve my memories and share our vacation photos and plans with you!  If you hate looking at people's vacation pictures, then you might want to skip over the next six or so posts! 

We piled into the family truckster last Friday about 8:15 a.m.  Damn near on time for us!  

Chip already has on his mean face!  Things can get pretty hectic in the backseat you know! 

Chip somehow got hold of the Fart Machine and smuggled it into the car.  He hit the fart button approximately 1,433 times before we got to Elgin.  I confiscated it sometime shortly after that.  It was really only funny the first 6 or 7 times he did it.

We have always wanted to do the Blue Bell factory tour and the timing worked out perfectly for us to fit it in on the trip.

We got there at about 11:00 a.m. and got tickets for the 11:35 tour.  While we waited we went over to the shop and ice cream parlor.  They had a whole sports museum over there.  That was a bonus.

Chip couldn't wait to dig into some ice cream, so him and his Daddy snagged a cup before the tour.  Cookies and Cream or Cookie Dough.  Something yummy.  I tried a few spoonfuls of sherbet, but didn't want to fire up the carb cravings so I quit after that.

The tour was really interesting, but no picture taking was allowed.  It is a well oiled machine that gets a lot done in just a small space.  It lasted about 30 minutes and at the end you could get another scoop of ice cream.   Harry hates ice cream, although he did give it a try.  Chip and Dad tried Christmas Cookie in July and couldn't stop raving about it.

They were two happy campers. 

After the tour we got on the road to put some miles behind us.  We stopped in Lafayette, LA for the night.  Our plan was to see a baseball game with one of the Independent League teams called the Acadiana Cane Cutters.  It was a beautiful evening and we were looking forward to chilaxing at the game.

We headed over to the field and sadly the game was rained out.  It looked like a neat little park.  We will have to try it another time.  

Since we struck out with the game, we drove around Lafayette near our hotel.  It was right by the Ragin' Cajun's campus.  The boys saw an open gate at the football stadium and took a peek inside. 

It was a nice little stadium.

Then they couldn't resist and actually went down and walked on the turf.  Good times.

Once they finished illegally exploring the campus, we went back to the hotel and hit the gym.  First day of vacation and already working out.  It was a nice fitness center and we showered and hit the bed early.  We were over half way to the beach and were looking forward to an easy drive the next day.

Easy is a relative term.  The boys were already on each others nerves so we switched up partners.  I was in the back with Chip and Harry was in the front with Dad.  Even so, Chip managed to irritate his brother by putting his dirty feet up on the console.  Harry finally resorted to putting his head completely into his shirt to avoid said feet altogether.

These are not the memories that I will treasure.

We drove through swampy Louisiana, over that long bridge with no exits that goes over water that looks like a premier alligator habitat.  

Hubby had purchased a couple of boxes of baseball cards and was passing them out to the boys periodically through the trip.  They had a price guide and were researching the ones they got.  It was an excellent way to pass time on the drive.  

We arrived at the Dauphin Island ferry at 3:00 in the afternoon.  Perfect timing to catch the 3:15 ferry over and check in at 4:00.  All except there were 56 cars in front of us.  Ugh.  They counted out the cars and we were in line to catch the 6:30 ferry.  The last one of the evening.  We couldn't fathom just sitting in the line for over three hours so we decided to drive around Mobile Bay.  

We thought we were making good time until we hit this stinking traffic jam!  The sign says "Caution Slow Moving Traffic Ahead".  It was an understatement.  It took us 57 minutes to go 4 miles.  Ugh!

We finally made it to the tunnel and then it was fairly smooth sailing.  The drive around took us a little over three hours, but we finally made it.  We were the last ones to the beach house. 

As we pulled up everyone was out on the balcony and they slow clapped us into the parking spot.  It was loud and embarrassing and Hubby drove right on by like we didn't know them the first time.

We did a quick u-turn and whipped into the spot to get out of that car.

Hugs all around!

We quickly grabbed some dinner so we could get on with the first planned activity of Lana's birthday celebration! 

It was time to kick off "Lanapalooza" Beach Birthday Bash!

We gifted the birthday girl with a little welcome beach bag with lots of her favorite things and some necessities for being a bathing beauty on the beach.  She rocked that sun hat and glasses.

Then we popped some popcorn and put on the Lanapalooza Movie.  It was 444 pictures of Lana through the years.  It was set to some terrific music and was wonderful!  My sister, The Nice One and her hubby Mario spent hours putting this jewel together.  It brought back so many awesome memories. Lana loved it.  So did Bob.

After that, we had seven kids that couldn't wait to go night fishing. 

I couldn't wait to get on the beach myself!

They weren't actually fishing as much as they were looking for sand crabs.  Why is that so fun?

They caught one.  This guy looks peeved that they put him in a bucket, doesn't he?  They let him go after toting him around for a while.

Here is the best thing...the Magnificent Seven are together again. They are growing up so fast.  I love when they are together.  They get along so well and pick up just like they don't live miles and miles apart.  I love that.  

Definitely a great start to a great week! 

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