Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer Vacation/Moore family get together

Old Seagrove Beach... one never knows exactly what they'll get when you rent a beach house using pics on the computer, but since we don't really have another option...we throw caution to the wind and like the old Nike saying, "Just do it!"  Aunt Tara (Andy's little sister) did most of the work, but we spent several nights online pouring over beach houses from Myrtyle Beach, SC to the Gulf Coast in AL.  This is the third time Andy's whole family has taken vacation together and all the hassle and expense is totally worth it to us because we legitimately get an entire week with all the family.  If we just go to visit and stay with Nanny and Papa we get to see everyone in small spurts a time or two, but if we're all on vacation it's soooo much better. Since we only get to see them about once a year we really love having such a totally free week altogether!

This year we hit a home run because our place was so perfect!  It was large enough to fit all of us and give us some of our own space.  The kids even had their own wing.  Their room had four bunkbeds, so eight of them could sleep there and off the kid room was their own den with a pull out couch for the other two.  This also included their own bathroom which was divine!  We had our own pool and a state of the art kitchen too!  I'll start the pics...

The first leg to Ga went beautifully!  We left around 6pm on Wednesday and arrived around 6pm Thursday.  Yes, we drive straight through!  Before you think we're totally crazy... Well, you're here and have probably read my blog before so you already know we're on the crazy side of the spectrum, so here's why... It's just really one bad day.  The girls ride in the car for a few hours before we stop for dinner and get ready for bed.  Then they sleep all night (on and off, of course).  We drink a lot of coffee (Andy to stay awake and me to keep him awake).  I usually try to get a few hours for when Andy can't keep his eyes open.  We might pull off for an hour or two, but mostly we stop again for breakfast.  We brush teeth and get dressed.  Then we drive a few hours, do lunch, they take a nap, and we're there!  We're exhausted but we just have to stay awake for a few hours before we can go to bed.  After a night's rest we really feel normal in the morning. 

This leg was epic because Belle asked to be by Abby!  See, Belle is awesome!  She has been able to direct care for Abby since she was three (maybe earlier), but since she could remember Abby liked to pull her hair or pinch her.  We thought a crying baby would put Abby over the edge and we were worried when Belle was born, but just the opposite happened and she loved Belle's cry.  It wasn't a good thing... She found ways to make her cry :(  And that sad story was Belle's first interactions with her "Special" sister.  She quickly learned to keep her distance and dodge her hand.  It was sad, but we couldn't blame her; in fact we encouraged her to keep away as we grew weary with her fussing at Abby all the time.  Fast forward to this past year when "happy Abby" reappeared on the scene.  Belle has been a helper but not a sister.  We've done whatever we could to put them together in a safe as possible manner to try to get them to connect on some level.  We even resorted to putting them in the same class in school and countless other stuff, but we knew we couldn't force it.  We have forced Belle to actually talk to Abby and hug her in the morning like MaryAlice does.  MA came out loving her Big sisters... both of them!  She's so unique and she loves Abby.  She's happy to see her and already has found ways to "work around" Abby's quirks.  She's the one who figured out if she sang the ABC's she'd let go of her hair... brilliant!  Anyway, Belle and Abby slept together that night... Yes, wipe the tears with me and let's keep rollling...

Belle asked to sleep with Abby in the back... epic   

MaryAlice loved all her big cousins.  MA is the baby and the next youngest is Kate who is closer to Belle's age.  The rest are in double digits and go up to 27.  Not all the older ones joined us this week as they've moved out and have real lives now, but we still had Leslie who is nineteen and Cassie who was almost eighteen on the trip.  MA decided to sleep with Leslie the first night.  She woke up the next morning and went down the list of who she would sleep with next.  She didn't make it to everyone, but I thought it was hysterical that she planned to!  Leslie was a good sport to let her climb in... or else she just sleeps hard :)  MA never came to find us even one night!  She was in her glory with all the friends everywhere!  She was not a happy camper when it came time to say goodbye :(  ... she wasn't alone
MA thought she'd put her feet on Leslie :)

We had a private beach!  It was beautiful!
I think the beach is more mom's thing than anyone Else's. I could've spent every day (actually I spent all but one) there with my chair close enough for my feet to be in the water!  Love the salty sea water on my skin and the breeze blowing off the ocean.  One day we even got to watch dolphins for at least an hour!  I just love the sound of the waves crashing on the shore and a dip in the water every now and again to ride some waves.  Belle like the boogie board, but I have a bit of an excess of Bergestedt in me and I had to work on not losing my mind worrying about her being taking away in an undercurrent.  It didn't help that the first day out the wind was blowing big and I almost got taken out as we were pulled off our sand bar and I was being pulled out with MA.  It freaked me out!
MA thought she could use her mini boogie board... Cassie talked her out of it, I think

We had a bit too much seaweed a couple of days

Belle riding the waves.  She was much braver this year as her swimming skills improved
A few of the days the seaweed was really thick coming in.  I think the weather has a lot to do with how much there was because one day there were large chunks, the next day it was almost totally clear and the next two days the seaweed was in tiny pieces. Wyatt (15) and Michael (13) were not so happy about the seaweed this day and were trying figure out what to do.  The big, cool guys soon where digging in the sand!  Never too old to make a sand castle, right?  Not sure it ever got to that, but there was digging...
Aunt Melanie (Andy's oldest sister) bought all the little girls matching outfits!  They were adorable!  Abby has one too, but I think she had retired by the time I actually took the camera out.

One of the nights we went into Panama City and went go-karting.  It was MA's first time and I thought she might be scared.  She rode next to me and I thought she was a bit white because on the second turn so I slowed down, but not so the case... She loved it and wanted to go back all week!  Super cute!  

 On an overcast day we all decided to go to a place called Pier Park.  It was an inlet sort of shopping center with an amusement park and theater.  Belle and Kate lasted about an hour and went back with Nanny & Papa, but MA was attached to Aunt Tara!  I usually don't really like taking her shopping because she's in and out of the clothes racks and I spend more time trying to find her than shopping, but she was like glue on Tara!  We finished that day with dinner at Margaritaville and had a blast... complete with entertainment on stilts making balloon figure hats! 

Cassie (17) & Leslie (19) beautiful sisters

Best buddies Belle and Kate

Michael asked for a unicorn hat and he got it!
After dinner one night we went crabbin'.  Evidently the little crabs come out at dark, so armed with a flashlight, some nets and a bucket they can be caught.  We caught a few, but the pursuit is more fun than the catch as each wave that crashes over your feet (with seaweed) you think you feel one running over your feet!
MA Crabbin with Uncle Myron

We dropped one out to let MA Catch one :)
We topped off this night with a late night swim!  You have to do this on vacation and it was great!  MA used it as an excuse to skinny dip, but we did make her put on her bottoms at least!

Danielle put her "baby" to bed and caught another one!

Dylan (10) underwater at night
Family vacation isn't complete without our feeble attempt at a family picture!  We wanted to go down to the beach, but that was a bit too much for us so we settled for the pool!  Don't look too close to MA because she is displaying how we all felt about pictures.  Sure we wanted them, but the effort is almost too much!  Luckily she doesn't know what she's doing... yet!  I couldn't crop it out... seriously, it's too funny!!!
Danielle is always so stinking pretty with her huge smile and we can never get Abby to look at the camera.  We're learning to just let her do her thing and not worry about it!  This was Danielle's first time swimming in the ocean as the last time she went with us was to Gulf Shores right after the spill and the water was full of tar balls and we never went in :(  This time she definitely got a couple of days in at the ocean.  Abby's not a fan and the effort it takes to carry her nearly 100 lb self across the hot sand is totally not worth it.  Abby has a tough time with transitions, so vacation is always a challenge.  She's doing better.  We didn't have to give her any medication to calm her, but it was Wednesday before she started happy talking.  Danielle's Monday trip to the beach was a forced break from her girly to re-charge her.  We want her to have some fun too!  We don't do vacation without Danielle!  I'll process through vacation with Abby on another blog... still a bit fresh to talk about it right now...
We are missing one entire family plus Melanie & Bill's oldest three, a couple of girlfriends and our first great grand baby in the family.  Andy's oldest brother, Duane, and his wife, Dana, had some health issues and weren't going to be able to come when we booked the house, but decided last minute to come and got a condo a few minutes away.  They came and went throughout the week, so it was nice to at least see them a bit, but our photo op was sort of spontaneous the last night and so unfortunately they missed it :(
 Abby was a bit grabby as she probably felt a bit unsettled with all the changes, but Kate insisted on being by her a lot more than anyone else wanted to.  She kept trying to manage her hands and arms by herself and continually got pulled and pinched, yet she kept coming back :)  She definitely loves her cousin!  She and MA are a lot alike and MA does the same thing.  A couple of tough characters!

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