There is no place I'd rather be than with family. Last week O and I visited LT in Pensacola, FL. He's been there for a couple of weeks and will be for a few more before he returns. It was a mini vacation for us. LT didn't study all weekend and we had family time. It always amazes me how much more enjoyable time together outside the home is compared to when we just stay home. At home, we get distracted by all of our projects and we end up doing our own things instead of focusing on making memories with O. (She's going to be 5 in less than 2 weeks. I can hardly believe it.) She is in a stage where it is a lot of fun to hang out with her. We tease each other non stop. I LOVE that she's a teaser, she fits right in with us. Anyway, I plan to dedicate an entire post about her on her BIG birthday.
Back to the story at hand, we were in Pensacola for 6 days. The "funny" thing about this trip is I got a ridiculously good deal on flights to Panama City, FL. So, I flew into there. But it turns out the drive is 2.5 hours to Pensacola. Oops. I guess just looking on a map and guessing the distance is a poor substitute for actually looking it up. No worries though. O was a fabulous little traveler. It helped to have our portable DVD player and it helped that we had 2 flights to break things up a bit.
The Friday we were there LT had class so us girls went out to explore on our own. The first stop was at the Pensacola Lighthouse. It's a haunted lighthouse and has been featured on "Ghost Hunters". I think that's pretty cool. It is 177 stairs to the top of the lighthouse and we made the climb. O was such a trooper, the higher we got on the stairs, the more nervous she became. The walk down was even worse for her. When you look at the picture, you can understand why. The spiral stairs are pretty tight and they are see through. I was so proud of her for making it up and down. I told her she did something hard that she was afraid of and she made it. And the next time she has something scary and hard to do, she can think about the stairs and remember that she's done hard things before. I think it was a cool experience for her. She beamed at her success. Who would have thought the lighthouse would provide a little teaching moment like that.
After the lighthouse, we headed over to the Naval Air Museum. Yay. I'd been there before and I knew they had a play place. I wanted to let her run since she'd been cooped up traveling the day before. That evening we went to a movie on the lawn in downtown Pensacola. The weather was perfect, the venue was perfect and the movie "Rio" was a lot of fun.
Saturday, we hit the Pensacola Beach and had a great time. The water was clear enough to snorkel!! We saw tons o' fish and caught crabs. O was a little freaked out that there were fish by her feet.
I learned the painful lesson that water resistant and waterproof are two entirely different types of protection when it comes to sunscreen. OUCH!!! I do have a lot of freckles to prove that I spent time at the beach. I don't think I've been this freckled for over a decade.
On a side note: I've been seriously spoiled with my recent beach experiences. I don't think there are better beaches than in Can Cun, Mexico, Phuket, Thailand and Nassau, Bahamas. I've heard others complain about east coast beaches and now I understand why. There is a huge difference between east coast, west coast and the gulf beaches. We went to a beach in Delaware the week before we left for FL. There was a lot of turbidity in the water and you couldn't see your feet. I've heard that is how most beaches are out here. Boo!
Since this post is getting long and many of you may be dozing of by now, I'll wrap it up with highlights.
After the beach, we had lunch at McGuires. The uniqueness of McGuires is in their decor. There are over 1 million dollar bills stapled and hanging in the restaurant. We signed our names and left one too.
We teased O about what she wanted on her birthday cake. She had told me she wants the Millennium Falcon and we pretended we couldn't remember the name. "Was it the Century Eagle? Or the Millennium Ferret?"
Sunday we went to church at the military branch on base. They have Krispy Kreme doughnuts every week. O was delighted that after sacrament we ate doughnuts. Afterwards, we went to lunch at the senior missionaries place with the rest of the branch members. I love that anywhere you go, you have a "home" with church members.
During Sunday School, O was coloring with the other little girl at the branch. They sang disney princess songs, loudly. I'm sure it was a distraction to others and we told them to sing quietly, but secretly, I loved it.
Sunday night, we enjoyed a stroll on the beach. We watched jellyfish wash up on the sand. We watched big crabs in the water and watched sand crabs scurry into their little holes. We even captured one. As strange at this sounds, crab eyes make me laugh and they creep me out at the same time.
Monday my room key didn't work, so once we left the room, we were out for the day. We went back to the Naval Air Museum and I let O play at the play place for about 2 hours. There was another mom there who was killing time just like me. O played with her 2 kids the entire time. When it was time to go and O said goodbye to them, the boy hugged her and kissed her on the cheek. I thought that was sweet, but she sure didn't. She folded her arms and gave me her grumpy face. She said, "He got his germs all over me. He kissed me like a married person." I tried not to laugh.
Once LT got home we piled into the car for our drive to Panama City. We played games and had FHE. We taught O "I spy, with my little eye" and she really got into it. She did a great job on the long drive. A whole new world has opened up for us, people. We may be able to do some road trips now that O is older.
We checked into our hotel and watched "American Ninja Warrior". Loved it!!
At 4 o'crap in the morning we headed to the airport, kissed LT good bye and made it home in time for the GREAT EAST COAST EARTHQUAKE OF 2011!!!
Now we are hunkering down for the hurricane.
The haunted Pensacola lighthouse.
At the top. It was a VERY humid day so we look especially sweaty after our climb.
O wanted to go down as soon as we were up there. She wasn't happy I wanted to take pictures and you can tell by her expressions. Here is her fake smile.
Looking into the light.
NAM on Monday. We took turns being in both seats. My favorite question from O. "Are you ready to BAM it?" I thought she said dammit, but before I could say anything, she started with, "bam, bam, bam." That's how she fires guns.