Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Grandparents' Annual Visit

One thing we can always count matter where we are or what our current living arrangements are, Steve's family will always make the effort to come visit us & see their grandkids, no matter how great the sacrifice. This year was no exception! They willingly drove 1117 miles to visit us here in Florida, or Lower Alabama as people often call this area of Florida. There really isn't a whole lot to do here in this area, but we still convinced them to go galavanting with us to see the best of the area & also not go crazy trying to cram all ten of us into one hotel room or the RV to just hang out.

Jake and Genna did not take it easy on Uncle Jon
The Hampton Inn they stayed at in Crestview had an awesome pool & hot tub that the kids and Steve & I thoroughly enjoyed. We did convince Grandma & Uncle Jon to join us for a little fun in the pool one time, but we were never succeeded in convincing Grandpa to even get his feet wet. Grandma invited the big girls to spend the night one night, and Genna & Jake invited themselves to spend the night another night. ;) Jake could not have been more excited to get a chance to have his first sleepover with "the funny guy," aka Uncle Jon. :)

Grandpa holding Katie for the first time at the hotel pool
The kids and I went to the zoo in Crestview with them while Steve was at work. The littles were excited to go back to see the little patas monkey that they had seen when the big girls were at summer camp, but she was already out in her transitional cage. The umbrella cockatoo, Derian, was probably the highlight of this visit. He was so incredibly loud, but he did talk, laugh, & even cry. He definitely entertained us for awhile.  The kids were also delighted to see a lemur with a tiny baby lemur on its back and another on its chest. They were incredibly cute! There's just something about babies...humans and animals!

Mia's Italian Resturant on the first night
Somehow, we persuaded (maybe forced?) them that if you're here in this part of Florida, you simply must go to the beach. Jon said he hadn't been to the beach in about 25 years, so I think he was actually excited. Navarre Beach is less than an hour from here, and it really is spectacular! The sand, the surf, the color of the's all as good as it gets in the beach world. We packed lunch, water, beach toys, and two chairs for those that thought they needed them...and off we went. It was a yellow flag day, so the water was clean and clear, gentle with very mild waves.

This was the farthest we could get them in the water
Uncle Jon making castles with the kids
Navarre Beach was beautiful and uncrowded on this gorgeous September day
We arrived, ate lunch, then the littles got busy playing on the beach with Uncle Jon, while the bigs promptly got in the water. Steve spent quite a bit of effort trying to convince his mom & dad that the water was, in fact, really awesome, not scary or rough, and also very shallow...but alas, ankle deep was as far as they were willing to go. Apparently, it was fun to watch us have fun?? It wasn't exactly what we had in mind when we invited them to come to the beach, but that's okay! Uncle Jon, however, clearly really did have fun playing on the beach with the littles, in spite of the fact that he got scorched pretty badly, even though he had sunscreen on. I was relieved to hear him say that it was worth it! :)

On Sunday we visited the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola
Enjoying the limo service
Jake enjoying the ride
We had planned to spend our last day together on the Blackwater River because it is the other truly awesome thing about this area. However, the forecast was calling for bad storms all day, and we had driven through a real gullywasher the day before on our way home from the beach. And honestly, it seemed like another swimming activity would not be the best way to spend our last day together. Sooooo...we re-evaluated what we could/should do, and we finally decided to visit the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. Not only is it free, but they also provide free wheelchair loans, which we definitely needed. Although Shanan & Alyssa were initially hesitant about pushing Uncle Jon and Grandpa around, they actually had a lot of fun with it. The weather, of course, turned out to be stunningly hot and beautiful, with nary a storm until late in the day, but we still had good times at the museum.

Katie enjoying spending time with Grandma
We all had a lot of fun this visit, but I think we might have worn out Grandma & Grandpa. ;) Thanks so much for always being faithful to come visit us every year, Grandma, Grandpa, & Uncle Jon!

Time for goodbye
Jake playing hard to get when it is time to say goodbye
Until next time Grandpa

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