Beach Trip, Party of 3

I decided a few months ago that it would be fun to take Annabel to the beach for the first time to celebrate her second birthday. The idea was to go after Labor Day when things would be cheaper and to bring Nathan’s parents along so that we might actually get some “vacation” out of it. But then Nathan’s parents ended up not being able to go, so I thought we should scrap the whole idea.

But Nathan doesn’t give up that easily. Unbeknownst to me, he continued to look at hotels in the area, and one day he came home saying he had found a special rate as long as we stayed three weeknights. And just like that, we were back in business. The timing worked out for us to go the Tuesday through Friday after Labor Day. This actually meant that Nathan was off work and home with us for nine days…so great!

This was our first time traveling by car with Annabel and it was shocking how much stuff we took for a 3.5 day vacation. Though truthfully, lots of it was food. We decided it would save lots of money (and calories) to bring the majority of our food, so I spent most of the weekend leading up to our trip making muffins, granola, gluten-free cookies, a gluten-free birthday cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting, and a quinoa casserole that we could nuke in the microwave for a quick dinner on the first night. I also chopped up strawberries and cantaloupe. The rest of what we brought was mostly store bought packaged stuff….crackers, hummus, baby carrots, rice cakes, apples, yogurt, sandwich stuff, etc. So yeah. LOTS of food! We probably returned home with about a third of it, but it sure was nice not to have to search for lunch options or even dinner on that first night.

Anyway.

Tuesday morning we packed the car and were out the door in time for Annabel’s nap. She slept for around 3 hours, so when she woke up, we only had about an hour left. Once we arrived, we unloaded everything, ate a quick dinner in the room and then headed down for a quick stroll along the beach. We had been telling Annabel for days where we were headed, but she really didn’t know what the “beach” was.

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She wasn’t a big fan of the wet sand, but once she reached the water, she was pretty enthralled. It didn’t take too long before she wanted to take her clothes off. Hooray for the ocean!

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She had so much fun splashing in the waves and chasing the seagulls!

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Around sunset, we headed back to the room to settle in for the night. Since we were all in the same room, Annabel thought it was party time and didn’t fall asleep until around 10:30 that night! Of course that didn’t mean she slept in the next morning and was up and ready to go before 7:00.

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Too much excitement to sleep, this girl was ready to go check out the beach again. So we ate breakfast, packed up our stuff and headed off for a morning at the beach. Once again, Annabel had a blast, especially since she was in her swimsuit this time and could go further into the water.

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Because we were there during the “off” season, we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves. There were a couple of other people here and there, but for the most part we felt like we had our own private beach. Definitely the way to do it!

We headed back to the hotel room for lunch and a nap. A nap that, not surprisingly, did not happen. I think Annabel was a little bit confused by the whole hotel thing and was too pumped up about the beach. So instead we just had a little bit of quiet time and then sunscreen reapplication so that we could go to the hotel pool.

Being the fish that she is, Annabel also loved this.

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This was on Wednesday, so it was the day before her actual birthday, but we decided to have her little birthday “party” that night instead of Thursday night so that we could have an extra day to eat cake:)

So after the pool and dinner, we pulled out the cake that I baked, lit some candles, and opened one gift.

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Annabel was a huge fan of the new baby doll clothes that she got and the “birday cake”.

Needless to say, she crashed pretty early that night after the skipped nap and so much excitement.

But once again, she was up before the sun, so we got another early start on Thursday. We repeated our morning at the beach, this time bringing our lunch along for a picnic, knowing that she probably wouldn’t nap again.

Annabel flew her first kite,

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and once again had a great time splashing in the waves, chasing birds, and playing in the (dry) sand. After lunch, I could tell Annabel was sleepy when she asked to go home. So we loaded everything up with high hopes of a good nap from her. We drove around until she fell asleep and hoped to transfer her from the car to the bed, but no dice. Once I got her up to the room, she was ready to party again.

So it was off to the pool again.

Since that was her actual birthday, we went out to dinner that night and then walked back down to the beach for a quick little splash in the water and family photo shoot.

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It was such a beautiful evening out there that I found myself lamenting the fact that we hadn’t switched up our beach in the morning/pool in the afternoon routine, so that we could have spent more time there in the evening.

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Who says Texas doesn’t have nice beaches?!

As it started to get dark, we made the quick walk back to our hotel, rinsed off our feet, and put our sleepy little birthday girl to bed.

Friday morning, before we had to check out of our hotel, we took once last trip down to the beach.

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We walked out on the pier,

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and even spotted a family of dolphins.

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It was the perfect ending to a fun little family vacation. We’re hoping to make this an annual tradition for Annabel’s birthday since it will always be right around Labor Day.

Until next year….

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