Destin: Our 1st Family Vacation

Before the kids Matt and I would get away every February for my birthday/our vacation – Las Vegas, the Bahamas, Cozumel. Our last trip was a cruise to The Cayman Islands in 2012.  We knew it might possibly be our last for a while as even then we were praying that I would get pregnant. And I did. A year later, when we would normally be sunning our worries away on some beach I was in the hospital. The following year we had three one-year-olds. No vacay. By this summer I was yearning for the salty sea air and Matt needed a break from work. Call us crazy, but driving 12 hours to the beach with three terrible two’ers sounded like the perfect plan. Then, quickly decided we should make a stop or two along the way. We aren’t completely insane.

Day 1: We left in the late afternoon around 4:00 and drove to Clarksville, Tennessee. Our only stop was at a Shoney’s in Henderson, Kentucky for dinner. This may sound funny, but Shoney’s has a special place in my heart. When I was a kid my family and I would eat breakfast there almost ever Saturday. And I loved it! I wanted my kiddos to experience that too. Even if they probably won’t remember. The food was excellent. The kids actually ate more than french fries. And my heart was satisfied for the evening.

Day 2: Breakfast at Chick-fil-A (yum!) and then on the road to the Nashville Zoo. A little background on my kids and animals. Jase – terrified of all animals (except out dog), Henley – serious lover of all animals, Sadie – can take ’em or leave ’em.



The girls turtle watching. Jase wouldn’t even get out of the wagon.
At the Kangaroo Kickabout. None of them came up close enough for us to pet, but it was still an awesome experience. We even got a see a Joey in his mama’s pouch and one laying in a dog bed. So cute!



Henny and a goat. She LOVED them! If you look closely in the background you’ll see Matt holding a very terrified little boy.

Our next stop was Prattville, Alabama – what seemed like a very highfalutin town. I loved it. Our hotel overlooked a golf course. It was beautiful. I would move there in a heartbeat.

Sadie always goes straight for the pen and notepad in a hotel.
Jase following in Daddy’s footsteps – working on vacation.
Henley and her Bunbun
Sadie and her Timmy (aka Lamby on Doc McStuffins)

Look out Destin! The Fry triplets are on their way to soak up your sun and play in your giant sandbox. We probably won’t may get in your emerald waters, but will most likely scream and choke Mommy and Daddy and really, really embarrass them!

Day 3 Destin: Ol’ big butt Yolanda (what I call our Yukon XL) seemed to glide over the Mid Bay Bridge as we all held up our hands and feet while going over. You’re supposed to do that while crossing a bridge with water underneath, ya know. So your feet don’t get wet. We goofed off at a souvenir store and went grocery shopping before we were able to get into our condo. Our third floor with no elevator condo. Oops. Poor Matt had to carry everything upstairs pretty much by himself. He was a trooper and didn’t cuss too much. By the time we got settled in it was time for dinner. Jase fell asleep on the way which made for a not so fun first holy shit expensive dinner that the kids didn’t eat, but Matt and I throughly enjoyed.

Walking down 3 flights of stairs!
The pool. They loved looking at it though the gate, but did not want to go in!
Sleepy Jaser
Grumpy Jaser!
The Back Porch restaurant.

Destin107 Destin109

Day 4: The beach. I knew going in that they most likely wouldn’t get in the water. That was just fine (although I do hope they someday love it as much as I do). I am a fish and love nothing other than to be in the water or lay peacefully and read until the sun goes down. Well…that doesn’t happen when you bring your kids along. I’m sure it’s difficult with one. You can’t even imagine with three that are deathly afraid of the water. I wish I would have gotten a better picture of the loaded wagon. You can see in one of the pics the gigantic bag filled with everything that “Beach Essentials” checklist I found online said I should bring. Ha. We didn’t even use the beach towels because no one got really wet. And we didn’t need snacks because we didn’t stay long enough to work off our breakfast. What was super important was the 382 sand toys! Just 2 short hours later they were done and Matt and I were exhausted. Oh, about 30 minutes later after a whiney trek back though the sand and across the street we were finally back at the condo. Quick baths, lunch in, a little dance party and then NAP time. For everyone.

Destin201 Little Bo Beach Peeps
Daddy did manage to get Sadie in the water! Yay!
Our little beach model


Later that evening we got cleaned up and went exploring. We had dessert before  dinner. And took in the spectacular scenery that Destin has to offer. It is truly beautiful there. I understand now why they call that area the Emerald Coast.

Looking for a place to eat dinner.
We ended up eating at the Mellow Mushroom!

Day 5: The beach. Same routine, less baggage…which I know Matt very much appreciated. This time Sadie decided she would be brave and get in the water again. She loved it! She didn’t want to get out. Matt and I spent our time taking turns with her in the water. Every time a wave would come she’d yell “Here come’s another one”! I picture me and her taking a beach vacation of our own in the years to come. She’s my kind of girl! I decided that we didn’t drive all this way for only one babe to feel the warm Gulf water so I picked up Henley against her will and took her out with me. She tolerated it, but as soon as I put her in the water she was done. Matt took Jase out and he didn’t enjoy it a bit. I think he’s more of a cold weather/mountain getaway guy like his Daddy. Two hours and one fun morning later back to the condo we went for baths, lunch, and nap time.

After baths and before lunch. It was all they could do to keep their eyes open!


Our last evening in paradise we decided to go by a friend’s  dinner recommendation and try Dewey Destin’s Seafood Market & Restaurant for dinner. But not before we had dessert first, of course.


They’re too cool for school.


This was our dinner view. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it! Matt and I both had shrimp baskets. I am not a huge fan of seafood, but it was wonderful. And their hushpuppies…oh my! I’d sweat it out again (it was sooo hot) anytime for those puppies!


Jase hauling chicken in his dump truck at dinner!

And of course, the location was screaming “get some awesome pics of the kids all together.” But, they thought otherwise.

It’s so hard to get a picture of them all looking the same way! Or smiling.
Except from behind!

Day 6 Hunstville: As we all know, good things must come to an end. By 9am we said our goodbyes to the beach. We said see ya later to the sea. We bid farewell to the fish. Our days in Destin were done. And we began our adventure back home. Just 7 excruciating short hours later we stopped in Hunstville, Alabama for the night. We had dinner in because who would want to get back in the Yukon after driving Not me. And I know the kids would have blown a gasket. So, Daddy brought Zaxby’s to us and we had a picnic of sorts on the floor of our hotel room. Then off to bed with dreams of home in our head. I dreamt of my own bed. And I’m sure Matt did too. I imagine Henley dreamed of being united with her Maggie and Sadie of being reunited with her Nana. And Jaser I’m assuming dreamt of his own sandbox. We were all ready to be home sweet home.
Huntsville05 Huntsville06

Day 7 Home: Again, bright and early we packed up and made our way back to East Central Illinois. Never did I think that I would be so happy to be home after spending time in a place that seems like heaven to me. But I was. And so were the kids and Matt.

Alas, I do miss the calmness the water brings me. I miss the warm sand on my feet. I miss the salty breeze trying to lull me to sleep. JH&S most likely won’t remember this adventure, but I made memories that I am sure to recall on their first day of kindergarten…the day get their driver’s licences (omg…3 at once!)…and on the day Matt and I become empty nesters. I will hold close to my heart that short week we spent as a family of five (sometimes I still can’t believe that I am saying that) traveling, exploring, learning, loathing, and loving our time together. I can’t wait to do it again.


One thought on “Destin: Our 1st Family Vacation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s