How We Kicked Off Summer

School is out for the summer in Georgia!

Thank goodness.

I don’t know who was more tired of homework, me or the kids.

Who are we kidding? It was totally me.

I documented the occasion by taking a picture at the last bus stop of the year. I’m sure my daughter loves me taking pictures while an entire bus load of kids looks on.

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So, how did we kick off summer? By going to the BEACH!

We have spent the first full week of summer break soaking up the sunshine in Fort Walton Beach and Destin, Florida.

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We built epic sand forts with help from Daddy.

Mommy left this task to the professionals.

Besides, a lounge chair was really calling my name.

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I took an almost identical photo of my daughter last year. The only difference is that this year I’m sure she’s 10 inches taller. Okay, it’s probably 2 or 3 inches, but still!

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My son has his own special technique for making tunnels in the sand for his army men.

As a result, he brought half the beach home in his swim trunks.

Seriously. How do you not know you have that much sand in your crack?

As a side note, it is very hard to find a 1-inch army man in the sand.

I’m happy to say, no man was left behind.
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The waves were a little too aggressive for me and the kids the first few days, but they were a boogie-boarder’s delight.

The hubby showed those youngsters a thing or two.

I’m not sure what, but he showed them. 🙂

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We also sailed the salty seas aboard this pirate ship! Argh!

If you are in the area, I definitely recommend the Buccaneer Pirate ship if you are traveling with kids age 10 and under. And no, that’s not a paid endorsement, we just had a great time.
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The pirate crew kept the kids fully engaged for almost 2 hours. The kids participated in water gun fights and plastic sword fighting. They sang pirate songs and had their faces painted.

I think my kids’ minds were blown when they pulled a treasure chest up from the ocean.

I thought the best part was when the kids had to swab the deck after the water gun fight!  I’m pretty sure my son didn’t share the sentiment.

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On an afternoon when we thought it might rain we visited the Air Force Armament Museum at Fort Elgin. There was very little the kids could actually touch, which was a bummer. However, they did enjoy sitting in these flight simulators.

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Outside the museum are several aircraft that you can walk around and check out. The museum is free to visit and depending on who you are traveling with, may be worth your time.

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Our hotel had a pool with this fun, rock water slide.

The beach is awesome, but sometimes “sand-free” playtime is golden!FortWalton2015_3

Besides the pirate ship, one of the coolest experiences for the kids was getting to hold an alligator!

Don’t worry! The alligator’s mouth was taped shut. This alligator was about 3 years old and apparently, alligators never stop growing. Good to know.

We had stumbled upon this opportunity at a restaurant in Fort Walton Beach called Fudpucker’s. The food was okay – don’t expect gourment cuisine – but the frozen mango margarita was delicious!

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What else did we do?

Besides applying sunscreen every 3 seconds, I took a few selfies with this handsome fella!

Which reminds me, I need to get more sunscreen. STAT!

But, mainly we just chilled and had a lot of fun exploring the area.

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My husband and I talked this week about how fortunate we feel that we can have these experiences with our children. Even little things like letting them place their own order at the restaurant (Instead of me speaking for them) are rewarding. They have to learn sometime, right?

If you are going to stay in a hotel with your children for more than a night or two, here’s my advice. Definitely get a hotel room with a separate bedroom. It is worth the extra money to be able to put your kids to bed on time. We stayed at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Fort Walton Beach and our suite included a kitchenette. We picked one meal a day to eat out, but the rest of the time we had simple meals usually for breakfast or lunch. It helped us save money and our sanity. Let’s face it, eating out with little kids isn’t always my idea of a good time.

I’m so happy to have kicked off our summer with some beach time. These white sandy beaches in Florida are amazing and the water is so much fun to swim in! I can’t wait to come back!

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