In case you haven't heard this about me yet, I absolutely love the beach. It is my favorite place in the whole world to spend time. It doesn't matter what time of year it is, I love the beach. If it happens to be winter time then I just have to wear about five layers of clothes to stay warm on my walk along the sand. I became really spoiled living in NC because we were only about 20 minutes away from the beach. It was great to just wake up in the morning and decide to head to the sand and surf. I miss it. A lot.
This is my fourth trip to the Gulf (and Dave's I don't even know what number b/c he was so spoiled by coming in the summers growing up...) My first trip to the Gulf (Orange Beach, AL) was for our honeymoon. I had never experienced anything quite like it. (Beach vacations always occurred in VA so the water and sand were a little different.) Our honeymoon was about a week after Hurricane Katrina hit the coast. I wasn't sure what we would find when we arrived at the beach, but it turned out that the beach was mostly deserted and there were tons of sea shells. Dave and I took a walk along the sand together while the in-laws unpacked the car and relaxed for a minute. (Yes, the in-laws went on our honeymoon with us. We stayed in neighboring beach houses and it was kinda fun.) Dave and I came back from our walk with huge seashells that washed ashore whole. (By huge I mean shells the size of my hand.) That is the one lasting memory I have about our honeymoon that years from now I will still share with you, the giant seashells.
My second trip to the Gulf occurred for Dave's pre-deployment leave. We spent about 4 days at the beach. just prior to going back to NC so he could leave "on a boat." We brought Dave's brother from another mother Tyrone with us as well as the in-laws again. It was another fun trip to the beach. Bonnie and I went to lay in the sand while Mr. B. and the boys fished. We took some wonderful family pictures during that trip. Some of the pictures taken are among my favorite pictures of our family together.
My third trip to the Gulf happened for our third wedding anniversary (the summer Dave EAS'd from the USMC). It was our first trip with just the two of us. We had a lot of fun, but just like family vacations growing up our anniversary hits right in the prime of hurricane season. We were able to spend about 2 days at the beach before we had to head home a day early because of Gustav coming along the coast. I remember being happy to spend some time at the beach with my husband (because together is a great place to be), but I also remember the trip home taking a very long time because of all the traffic from people evacuating. Gustav didn't really make an impact, but better to be safe than sorry.
And now to my fourth trip to the Gulf. We didn't make it to the beach at all last year. Not a single time. I decided this year that we were going to make it to the beach or we were going to need to move a little closer to one. (I still want to move closer to the beach, but it may have to wait awhile.) Dave and I began planning and I said that we should see if we could manage a whole week at the beach. We haven't ever taken a week long vacation anywhere with just the two of us. All of our time off when he was in the USMC was spent visiting family (and we loved it that way); however, we were getting to the point we really needed a vacation. After much planning and waiting and planning some more, here we are...together for a week at the beach. We arrived on Sunday and made a trip to the Tanger Outlets to see what deals we could find. We walked around and around and around. I found a few things to purchase and Dave found another pair of Oakleys. We finally stopped shopping because we were hungry and went to Mellow Mushroom for a yummy dinner and a tasty beer (Harp and Guinness on tap). By the time we made it to the beach house we were a little tired. We unloaded the car-seriously how many bags do two grown adults need for a week at the beach? Too many apparently. I dread the day we should have to travel with children. If that happens hopefully I'll learn to be a lighter packer. Honestly. Two duffel bags, a suitcase, a bag of just beach towels & shoes, a bag of food stuffs, and bags of I don't even know what...too much stuff! We watched some tv and then went to bed.
Monday morning I woke up at 8:30am unable to sleep any longer. Someone didn't tell my body we are on vacation and I can sleep all day if I want. Maybe I sleep more peacefully at the beach, thus requiring fewer hours of sleep. I was awake before Dave, like a whole hour or two before him. That doesn't usually happen either. I went to the living room and watched some tv. (We like having cable tv
(Mom, I was thinking about you in this pic and how much you love the beach too. "I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart...")
After our walk we ventured to the grocery store to find some lunch and dinner fixin's. The best part of the trip was Publix. We purchased a basket of fruit and only spent $20. I am now in love with Publix. That same basket at Wal-Mart would have been probably $30 and the fruit would go bad in a day or two. I don't think it will be the case with our Publix fruit, but I will let you know.
I also purchased a travel sized edition of Scrabble. I meant to bring our game from home, but with all those other bags I forgot. (Did I mention I am a last minute packer? It probably didn't help.) I am ok with the new purchase, in fact I love it. The Scrabble tiles click into the board. For an OCD person like me it is an amazing thing. No more making sure the tiles are perfectly aligned on the squares. No worries that bumping the board will shift all the tiles and mess up the words. I love it! We played two rounds last night. It was a lot of fun.
Now I'm off to see what today at the beach shall bring...