Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Heaven

Wow, I am lucky today -- the kids are taking the longest naps ever.  They may be up until midnight, but at least I get to catch up on the neglected blog.

And this is one of my favorite yearly posts -- the beach vacation.  Ahhhhhhh . . . . even as I was uploading the photos I could smell the salt in the air and hear the waves.  Clint and I have found our perfect beach.  Have you ever seen the Truman Show?  Remember the perfect little beach town where Truman lived and how it was created in that "bubble" in Hollywood?  Well, it really does exist in small beach town called Seaside in the panhandle of Florida on a strip of highway called 30A -- but, shhhh, please don't tell anyone because I can't handle the crowds.  

Seaside is gorgeous with its pastel-colored homes, but we chose to stay in the little community next to it called Seagrove so we could have a yard like this.  I mean, it has a picket fence.  Really.  And the homes aren't right on top of each other.  Just grab a bike and Seaside is a couple of minutes away.

I had an idea of how I wanted this post to be laid out, but I don't know how long these naps will last and I promised someone a trip to Scooters for frozen custard when she wakes.  So I am not arranging the photos.

Anyway, there is a restaurant called Bud and Alley's that has great views of the beach and the little town of Seaside, which you can see behind us.  Luckily, we had the grandparents in tow so we could sneak away with friends in the afternoon.  It was raining the first few days of the trip, but we didn't care.  

Well, we did care a little.  The trip started with a 6:00AM flight out of Midway, which meant I had to get my monkeys out of bed WAY too early.  Poor Mack lost his shiz somewhere over Nashville and didn't recover until he'd completely frazzled every passenger on our plane.  The combination of his yucky cold and two molars busting through his gums made him a sad little guy for the first few days of our vacation.  I also had his cold and Clint was working like a madman trying to close a couple of important deals, so we had no other choice.  We just had to stay a few extra days. :)  Oh, joy!

Do you see the little striped thing in Mack's right hand?  That guy is zebra, his best beach friend whom he found in the toy basket at the beach house.  Get ready to see him in a lot of the pics.  Oh, and he somehow is now living in the toy basket in our Chicago home . . . hmmm, wonder how that happened . . .

This one doesn't love the beach.  Not at all.

Mack and his Top.  Two peas :)

Two more sweet peas :)

Checking out "all the boo-tiful things" at Perscipacity.

Okay, I need to talk about this guy just a minute.  We call him Top, you know, like he's the "Top Dog."  And he's married to this woman, Shug, who I swear to goggles has a sign on her back door that reads, "Do you want to talk to the man in charge or the woman who knows what's going on?"  You already love her, don't you?  Anyway, if you don't know Top well, then you have no idea how hilarious he is.  Normally, he's fairly quiet and reserved, but sometimes he decides to ruffle up his hair a little. :)

Top with some sweet friends who were visiting from Birmingham.  The guy in the middle is actually at the Ryder Cup with Clint this very second.

I don't even know what to say about this.  Awesome, right?

Hahahahahahaha!!!!  He thinks big, muscular guys are hilarious and had a blast picking on this guy, who is about 2 feet taller than he looks in the photo.  This is one of the best shots of the vacation by far.

Poppaw and Bebe enjoying brunch at the Red Bar.

Remember I told you he'd pop up again.  Hello, Zebra.
 I couldn't have planned this picture more perfectly.  Tiny Mimi standing on her giant brother's shoulders while he buries a zebra in the sand.  Awesome.
 Dancing on the beach.

 Terrible shot taken after a night at Bud and Alley's by our sweet friend Kyle, who was a pleasant surprise at the beach.  Actually she and 5 other friends and their kiddos just happened to be staying a short bike ride away!  Kyle and her hubs were two of our very best friends in Memphis, and I could have cried when I found out that they would be there!
 Charlie's Donuts is the cutest donut truck ever in Alys Beach, which is by far the most gorgeous beach town I've ever seen.  Maybe if we ever want to take a romantic trip without the kids we will go there.  Wait, do people actually do that?
 Mimi with Mississippi friends Banks and Charlie.  She had so much fun bossing them around and stealing their toys.  That's what little boy friends are for, right?
 She begged and begged and begged and begged for this beautiful over-priced lollipop.  I obliged because it meant I could get a glass of wine and sit still for a minute.  She took about 3 licks and told me that she was going to throw it in the garbage.

One really cool thing about this beach community is that it is sooo bike-friendly.  I loved pulling the monkeys behind me to go to the beach or to grab an ice cream cone.

Oh, and how well did a bloody Mary go with this front porch?  They were made for each other.
 By the way, I fell absolutely head over heels in love with this beach house.  After waking up at 3:30AM, struggling with our sleepy-head, fussy babies, and dealing with lugging one zillion pounds of luggage into a rental car, we turned off of Hwy 30-A onto a narrow gravel road covered with huge magnolia limbs.  We pulled into the driveway of a white house with a big porch on the bottom, and screened porch on the top, and a white picket fence.  We opened the door and walked in, and I couldn't hold back the tears.  "This is even more perfect than I could have imagined!" I squealed to Clint.  "Can we buy it??!!"  And he just laughed and told me to get a nap.

This was the dining room where we ate all of our meals.  Do you see that green stuff and a fence out the window.  That is called a backyard.  I had forgotten how awesome one of those could be.
 The stairs that went down to the beach.  Love this photo.

Do you see all those sunbathers and the beach littered with umbrellas and blankets?  Nope, me neither.  Just a lot of sand and water.  Exactly the way I like it.

 Here they are.  A boy and his zebra.

Sweet little Mack didn't love the bright sun in his blue eyes and sticky sand as much as his sister and I did.  This meant that he spent a lot of time in my lap letting the waves hit us.  Who said I'm complaining?  I seriously doubt he'll ever let me do that again.

The sweet peas take on the beach.  These girls are too much fun.

 "Mimi, where'd you get that hat??"
"I got it from that boy."
"Did you ask or did you just take it?" (I ask this because I see a boy running at her full-speed yelling, "Give me back my hat!")
"Oh, I just taked it because it matches my outfit and looks cute on me.  Don't you think I'm so cute?"
 Mimi and Banks were serious daredevils who jumped off that tall concrete stage about two zillion times.
I wonder how much longer those beach blonde curls will last??

This guy isn't happy unless he's running away from me.
 Aww, sweet baby Andrew.  He came after we moved to Chicago, and I'm sad that I can't squeeze his fat cheeks more often.  But I'll be in Oxford in about a week -- so get those cheeks ready, Andrew.
 Mack celebrated his 2nd birthday while at the beach.  We had a mini birthday bash with dinner from the silver trailers and Publix cupcakes.  Perfect for this little guy.  Oh, and I have to mention Will, who is sitting on the right.  His mom, Lauren, is the girl who I loved a few posts back that takes gorgeous pics of my kiddos.  And Will, well, I think he and Mimi had a bit of a crush on each other.

 Getting ready to launch into his cupcake . . . 
 Ready for the attack!!  Head first is the only way to do it!
So back to my dream of buying the beach house.  I bugged Clint about it so much that he actually asked the owner about it.  The house will be on the market this winter, AND will probably cost less than what we could buy in Chicago.  So I'm thinking that we keep renting in Chicago, buy the fabulous beach house (which we can rent for at least half the year to all of you), and we could fly down to the coast a few times a year.  And then pigs will start flying.  I know, I know, but a girl can dream, right?

(And about the flying . . . our flight into Panama City was so treacherous that we actually canceled the return flight and drove 16 hours home.  I know.  Honestly, it wasn't too bad at all.  We spent the night halfway with my favorite sister in Nashville, and the monkeys were so wonderful in the car.)

I'm Goin' Down South

Still running behind and still playing catch up from the summer . . . story of my procrastinating life.  We are leaving the big, busy city for a trip to the South in a few days, and I think we owe a few people a visit.  It's so very difficult to leave this gorgeous town in the fall -- especially the breathtaking yellow tree that is staring at me from outside my window -- but it's a trip the Darbys are very excited to take.  

 Just last night we were watching Bama whoop up on our beloved Ole Miss Rebels in the local "Ole Miss bar" along with other alumni when the guy next to us asked if we loved growing up in a small town.  And all of us immediately answered, "I wouldn't trade it for the world," literally in unison.  Both my husband and I grew up in the country with very large families, but we've chosen to raise our own children in a much different environment.  We love the city and all it has to offer our family, but every now and then I crave wide open spaces, getting a wave from every car that passes, and cornbread and fried vegetables.  I miss hearing little girls add about 3 extra syllables to every word and seeing grown men with potbellies in overalls and real trucker caps -- not the kind one can buy at American Apparel.  

So we're leaving this fancy city in a few days to spend time with Poppaw and Bebe and Top and Shug and silly cousins.  I plan to talk a little slower and hopefully get rid of any nasal-y sounds my four-year-old might be getting in her vocabulary.  I will fall asleep at night in a room that has no light shining in it except that from the moon and no sounds except for the crickets and frogs outside the window.  I may eat deep-fried vegetables but know they probably came from one of our parents' gardens.  I will run into people at the grocery store who can remember a time that I wore bows in my hair and who may call me by my sister's name.  I will try to not be impatient when the guy at the gas station takes way too long on the customer in front of me because he needs to hear about the winning touchdown at Friday night's football game.  I will try to not roll my eyes when I see cars sloppily parallel parked on the wrong side of the street.  I will bite my tongue when someone makes a statement about how they don't understand how I could live in such a big city "up north." Most of all, I will LOVE that my children get to walk in my footsteps for just a few days and run on the same soil where I once ran.

Whew, I must need to dust because my eyes are a bit misty.  Anyway, it will be a fantastic trip of seeing old friends and sweet family and even catching the Rebels play some football.  AND Clint and I will also sneak away to northern California BY OURSELVES for some golf and wine -- yes, ma'am, I am SO excited!

Like I said, we owe some folks a trip since they were kind enough to visit us over the summer.  
Just some shots of the fam in Chi-town . . .         
We never, ever have any fun.  Not at all.
No back yards at our place in Chi-town, but the roof is pretty cool.

I don't know what they were doing, but I kind of want to frame all of these.

Sneaky, sneaky boys.
Yes, all the girls in my family have the "Nixon squint."  Oh, and that pretty one on the left just went to the state finals in golf as a FRESHMAN!  Wowzers!
This one makes me tear up a little lot.  
Another mom and I were watching our sons attempt to sneak away from us to jump in a mud puddle at the park recently, and she winked and said, "He isn't happy unless he's being bad."  I kind of love that about a boy.
 Who says you can't go to the beach in the Midwest?
 At one of my favorite Chicago restaurants Smith and Wollensky for my mom's 39th birthday!  Or something like that . . .  
 Millenium Park is so, so awesome.
 My kids are impressed by absolutely everything their cousin Nick does.
 Movies in the park with Coco!
 "Wah -hoooooo!!!!!"
 Million Dollar Quartet is an absolute must for anyone who lived in the days of Sun Studios and Sam Phillips.  I think I enjoyed it even more than my dad :)
Until the next time my children take Sunday naps and my husband is at a golf tournament . . .