Remember how I said waking up at the beach is one of the best things in life?! Well, these three agreed.. except it wasn't the sand and waves that had their attention!! It was Mommy and Daddy's big bed where they could all comfortably lay down as they watched morning cartoons!!
We don't have tvs in any of our bedrooms at home, nor do we have cable, so to get to lay in bed WHILE watching Disney Jr was one of the very best parts of vacation for these babies, ha!!
We had a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, and fruit and got ready for the day!! Nana, Savannah, and I drove into Foley to shop at their huge Outlet Mall (another MUST on our beach trips!!) and got to spend several hours shopping!! There is usually a ton of people, but with this being the beginning of the off-season, there was no hurrying, no struggling to find a parking spot, no bumping elbows every time you turned around!! IT. WAS. SO. NICE!!! I'm telling you, everything about this trip was a dream!! Precious Wadie kept all the boys for us and right after we returned, we ate lunch and headed down to the beach together!!
Diggers gonna dig!!
Someone got some sand in his mouth, hahaa!
I loved seeing all these sweet and small footprints from my four little people!!
You know I had to do it:
Pooles at Orange Beach in 2016!!
And then Grant saw what I was doing and came to help..
Thank youuuu, Grant. This is so much better. ;)) #reallife
Samuel had to get under the umbrella for some cold drink and refreshments, haa!! He stayed with Nan while the rest of us played in the gulf!!
Happy as a clam.
We spent most of the afternoon out at the beach and at the pool, but called it an early evening, so that Wade and I could have a date night!!!! Sweet Nana offered to keep all the kids while Wade and I went out to dinner!!
Every dinner with my Wadie is special, but this night would be one of the very best. In all my life, I don't think I've ever appreciated a date night more!! This was pure bliss.
One of my most favorite places on this earth is a small Italian restaurant tucked away by a boat dock, nestled between the shoreline and the bay, and easily missed by those who don't know it's there. Cafe' Grazie is our place. We visit it every time we go to the beach and are always so enraptured by the charm, the ambiance, and the relaxing views of the large fishing boats gently bobbing in the bay while we indulge in their delicious dishes. This lovely spot holds a dear place in my heart and as soon as we book a beach trip, I begin looking forward to the night we'll go to visit Cafe' Grazie. It's such an experience, a night where the smells of the roasted garlic, candle-lit tables, and clink of crystal glasses touch every place in your soul. Or maybe that's just me because I get to sit across a table from Wadie. ;)
Now this is how your fried fresh mozzarella cheese triangles are supposed to look!! Ha!!
Wadie got the Shrimp and Crab Portobello..
And I got the Chicken Parmesan!!
I wish I had taken pictures of our view out the back.. The palm trees around us were lit up with strands of white lights, the massive homes surrounding us were gorgeous and serene, and the big white boats were glistening in the full moonlight!! Y'all, this was the best date night ever.
We never pulled out our phones once. We didn't need to. The conversation was nonstop, the food was top notch, and the company was second to none. After sitting and savoring every moment there as long as we could, we walked along the dock where all the boats had come in from a day of deep-sea fishing.
They smelled like salt and water and Wade and I held hands as we took it all in.
Afterwards, we walked up to the San Roc Cay shopping area, where these couches and chairs were sitting out and the music was softly playing. And of course, I knew we needed a picture. :))
You're my one and only, Wadie!! The star to my fish, the beach to my wave, the sun to my beam.. And the only fish in my sea! ;))
And just look at this whopper Wadie caught!! Ha!!
After spending a few precious hours alone, soaking in the goodness of that time together deep into our bones, we were ready to get back to our babies. We stopped and picked up flashlights, because it was time for an ADVENTURE..
We left Samuel and Nana sleeping upstairs, rounded up the three oldest kiddos, and headed downstairs to go on a mighty CRAB HUNT!!
The kids were OVER THE MOON excited!!!!
We call this 'catching toodaloos' but I keep googling that and nobody seems to know what I'm talking about, ha!! But after the wave washes across the sand and flows back out again, you can see these little sand crabs scurrying across and it makes for a lot of fun to try to catch them!!
Four proud hunters!!
See our little friend in there?!
Andrew and Savannah were beasts at catching these little things. Grant loved to shriek and shrill when he saw one, but didn't care to actually catch them, ha!! Maybe next year!!
Wadie found a clam..
...and then we found this monster!!!
It was a humongous jellyfish and quite scary to just walk up on at night, ha!! The kids all gathered around and got to touch the top of it.. Homeschooling at its finest. ;))
We loved all of the treasures we found this night!! After about an hour of walking and exploring, we headed back to the condo..
..where the kids were in for their BIGGEST surprise!! From our first day at the beach, the kids had asked to go swimming at night. Since that requires an adult, we had said no every time and honestly, we had no intention of even doing it this night!! (Hence them being in real clothes in the swimming pool, ha!!) But as we walked around the pool, it was empty and inviting and we allowed the kids to get in.. "but just up to your knees!!" Look at those ecstatic faces, hahaa!!
Wade and I loved seeing how happy they were tromping around and decided that tonight would be the night the kids would get to go night swimming after all. :)) So without saying a word, Wade picked Andrew up and THREW HIM all the way in the pool, clothes and all!!
Hahahaa!!! This turkey wasn't asking for anything better!!
Savannah joined him and after Grant had stripped down to his underwear, he got in there, too!! Wade and I relaxed on the lounge chairs, watching the palm trees sway and listening to the kids laughing and splashing and playing.
They thought this was the most amazing night in all the world..
and we did, too.