Leighton’s 1st Beach Trip!

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Last week, we took our first family vacation to one of my favorite places in the world, St. Augustine, FL. We hadn’t been there in almost two years due to our busy summer filled with weddings (and a baby on the way) last year, so I was just dying to get back down there. We got married in St. Augustine almost 7 years ago, and I’m so happy we got to take Leighton there for her first real vacation and first trip to the beach.

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My mom joined us for our 6-day trip, and we couldn’t have been more thankful to have her there with us. Despite packing what felt like half of the house, driving a total of 7 hours each way due to a few stops for feedings, and Leighton not really wanting to nap in her pack n play while we were there, it was an incredibly relaxing and enjoyable trip — largely thanks to having an extra set of helping hands from my sweet mama. She truly is the most amazing grandmother to Leighton, and I’m so glad she got to come along on this fun trip.

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The weather at the beach was really windy and cool when we arrived, so the first full day was instead spent shopping at the outlet mall and hanging out at the house enjoying the gorgeous beachfront view while we cooked a delicious dinner.

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My mom’s family lives in Jacksonville, so I was really excited to spend a day in town visiting with my grandmother Nana, as well as my cousin and her littlest one, my uncle, and even my aunt, who came in from Tallahassee. I love that Nana got to see Miss L army-crawling around her living room (and ending up under the armchair) — she was just one month old the last time she saw her! We had a yummy lunch out, and although I wish we could have spent a lot more time with them, it was wonderful to get in a few hours together. My dad made the drive up for the night, so we had dinner out at his favorite St. Augustine seafood joint. Leighton had us rolling on the floor laughing when she tried lemons for the first time… her sour face was absolutely priceless! Craig is still laughing every time he sees the photo.

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Thankfully, some warm weather finally made its debut for our last two days, so we took full advantage of the beach. It was a bit different than the beach days we’re used to…instead of plopping down in the sand with music, drinks, and magazines or books for the day, we were hauling out a baby pool and tons of little toys to keep L occupied for an hour or so before she’d inevitably get tired of that and need to go in for food or a nap. But it was really fun to see her play in the sand and dip her toes in the ocean for the very first time. She’d grab handfuls of sand (which is mostly crushed shells on this part of the coast), inspect the sand intently, and then let it fall… until she decided to taste it. Yuck! She did look pretty adorable in her little swimsuits and sunhat, though, and I think she enjoyed the beach!

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My sweet mom kept Leighton one night so we could enjoy a date night out in downtown St. Augustine, and it was a perfect night! We started off with dinner at The Columbia, one of our favorite restaurants when we’re in town. We love their sangria made tableside, their crunchy bread, the Chicken Salteado dish, and Craig’s new favorite – a chicken dish covered in manchego cheese. It was lovely to have a nice dinner that didn’t have to be rushed, and we even got to walk down to our other favorite little spot, The Tini Martini Bar, for some after dinner drinks. It’s located in a bed and breakfast on the water with a pretty view and great drinks.

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On our last night, we tried a new place (to us) called Casa Maya, which is also downtown. We all sat outside on this really pretty, hidden patio and enjoyed the best margaritas and yummy guacamole. Leighton had fun watching the other diners and eavesdropping on their conversations. 🙂 We just had to stop by Cousteau’s, a funny little waffle sundae and milkshake bar, for a decadent dessert of a nutella and strawberry liege waffle and a milkshake. I mean, it’s vacation… so calories don’t count, right?

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My parents have a photo of me as a baby at the beach house. I’m sitting on a bed wearing a ruffled pink bathing suit and a white sun hat and showcasing my impressive Buddha belly. I found a similar pink suit for Leighton a few months ago and we decided that we had to recreate this photo when we finally made it to the beach house with her. I love that we have this fun little comparison photo of the two of us at similar ages.

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I’m always so sad to leave my mom’s family’s beach house when our vacation comes to an end, and this time was no exception. Despite traveling with a 7 month old, it was a surprisingly relaxing trip, and we had so much fun just being together for several days. I’m with Leighton the majority of each week, but with Craig working, he only gets to spend quality time with her on the weekends. This was the most time he’s gotten to be with her since right after she was born, and you can’t put a price on that! She won’t remember her first beach trip, but her mommy and daddy (and grandma) will definitely have memories to last a lifetime.

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