Our Family Beach Trip

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We recently spent a full week on vacation in our favorite place, St. Augustine, Florida. This was the longest we’ve ever been able to stay there, and it was the absolute perfect amount of time to get in several beach days, have lots of downtime, visit our Jax family, and do so many of our favorite things in downtown St. Aug. We came back relaxed and refreshed, but also a little bit sad knowing we’d have to wait another year to get back! 🙂

For the first time ever, I scheduled family photos to take place during our vacation, which coincided with our 9r anniversary. We had our photographer, Megan of Upon Waves, come right to the beach house, because that’s the most special place to us — and it’s just up the beach from where we got married. It started out as a bright and sunny afternoon, but the sky turned dark with rain clouds as we approached sunset, and we got the most beautiful images in return. She let us just be ourselves, so with an almost 3yr old, that meant running, playing, splashing, and collecting sea shells. I am absolutely in love with the images she gave us, and as I told her, I wish I could wallpaper our house with them. These photos will always hold a very special place in my heart. I’ll share a few favorites here, but you can see more over on my MHP blog — or check out Megan’s site for the full post, including a cool story about the beach house!

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As usual, my mom accompanied us for the week, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s such a fun, easy-going travel partner, and Leighton had so much fun playing with her Mee every day of our trip. She also makes this trip seem a lot more like an actual vacation (because we know that “vacations” with kids are usually not in any way relaxing), and we’re so very grateful for her constant help. My dad joined us for a couple days, and Craig’s brother even flew down from Nashville for a good portion of the trip. It was so much fun sharing our week with family!

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We had the most beautiful week of weather, so most of our days were spent playing and relaxing on the beach. We did take one day to go to Jax for lunch and visiting with my grandmother, Nana, and some of my mom’s family. Leighton had a blast playing with her older “cousins” (my cousin Alli’s kids), and I just wish we’d had more time to spend together. Next year, we need a big play day at the beach while we’re there.

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Other than beach time, we got in so many delicious meals, including lots of fresh Florida seafood. If you’re looking for places to eat and drink in the St. Augustine area, I recommend Cap’s on the Water, Aunt Kate’s, Prohibition Kitchen, A1A Ale House, The Columbia, and Tini Martini Bar. Lots of great food, great water views at several of these spots, and just a fun vacation atmosphere all around. There was ice cream had after dinner many nights, and Leighton discovered the greatness that is gummy worms after a trip to the candy store with BaBa. We waited all week to ride the vintage carousel at the park near downtown, and we finally got lucky on our last night. It was the perfect ending to our trip — great dinner, fancy ice cream sammies, a walk through historic downtown, and a couple rounds on the carousel before heading home.

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This trip is hands down one of the things I most look forward to all year long, and this year was one for the record books. Leighton is at such a funny age where almost everything she does elicits laughter from us, and we had such a great time playing with her on the beach. She’s still a little young to sit for any length of time and just dig in the sand, so we practiced swimming in the ocean, we looked for shells, we watched birds, we built castles, we blew bubbles, we ate popsicles… you get the idea. We did manage to get some relaxing time in when she went up to the house with my mom, though. 🙂 The memories we have from this trip will be some lifetime favorites.

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