Gulf Shores 2012 — Part I

Yes, I had to split this post into two parts. I have too many pictures to share! So…here’s the story of our vacation…

About 2 months before our trip, Reuben and I made a paper chain to help us count down to the beach. It was so fun to tear off one chain per day and really helped with our anticipation of our big trip. Reuben was so excited to tear the last chain!

I’m so glad I took the time to make games for the car ride. Reuben really enjoyed them both in the car and during down time at the condo. We’ve also used them several times since we’ve been home! We borrowed the tray from our friends and ended up buying it! It was a perfect place for Reuben to play and eat while we were in the car for 12 hours. You can get it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $20.

We didn’t leave until after Nick finished leading worship on Sunday so we didn’t arrive to Gulf Shores until after midnight. The next morning, we got up early, went to Wal-Mart to get our groceries, came back to change really quick and headed to the beach. Gabriella’s chubby little self in her bathing suits just about made me melt into a puddle everyday. She’s just too cute for words. We got this inflatable baby pool at Target at end of season last year for $3.50 and it was perfect for her. I wish I had a better picture of it…

We borrowed this pool floatie from Joleen and it was perfect for Gabriella. The shade did a great job blocking her from the sun and she was just happy as could be floating around in it.

Reuben enjoyed the pool WAY MORE than the beach. He said the sand was too yucky so he held onto me and/or Nick for dear life the whole time we were down at the beach. Once we got to the pool, however, we put his floaties on him and he was a free bird. He would float around the pool all by himself and had the best time.

On Monday night we went to Lulu’s, which is one of our favorite places to eat in Gulf Shores. The atmosphere is really fun and the food is pretty good. We definitely recommend going if you’re ever in the area.

One of the best parts of our trip was the wonderful company we had with us! We’ve bragged to our friends and family for the last couple of years about how much we love Gulf Shores. We managed to convince Rob, Joleen, and Brielle that they should take their next family vacation to GS. Well, much to our delight, they booked their vacation the same week as ours…without even planning to…and they stayed in Crystal Towers, the same complex as us! Dinner with their family at Lulu’s was a great way to kick off our week in paradise 🙂

After dinner, we went back and put the kids to bed. Once they were down, Rob came over to our condo to watch the Thunder game with Nick while I went over to Joleen’s condo to craft. I made bows galore while Joleen sewed and we chatted the night away. It was so fun to have a crafty girls night on vacation!

Reuben and Gabriella decided sleeping was for the birds while we were on vacation. Apparently they were both too excited about getting down to the water to sleep. So, every morning, as soon as Nick and I could manage to open our eyes and remember who/what/where we were, we started the process of eating, dressing, and packing for the beach. Most mornings we had some time to kill because the pool didn’t open until 8. The games I made for the car came in handy as a distraction out on the balcony.

Here’s a few pics of us all dressed for the beach out on our balcony…

On Tuesday night, we had Brielle over for a play date so Rob and Joleen could have a date night. After our spaghetti dinner, we got busy working on a craft. We decorated foam picture frames as a souvenir of our trip to Gulf Shores. As usual, Reuben automatically put a sticker on his forehead.

Brielle was very serious about decorating her frame with lots of fish.

Once we finished our craft, we loaded up the kids to head down for a walk on the beach. Gabriella happily rode along in the backpack carrier.

Two little cuties waiting for the elevator 🙂

Our condo is across the street from the beach so we have to cross the skywalk in order to get there. Reuben considers the skywalk to be one of the best parts of the whole vacation. He loves running across it as fast as he can. Brielle seemed to agree wholeheartedly with Reuben’s love of the skywalk.

Nick is so attractive to me in this picture. Baby on his back, little girl by his side, a watchful eye on our boy, and adorned in Thunder gear. Love him!

Too. Cute. For. Words.

Reuben THREW A FIT the entire time we were down at the beach. He does not enjoy sand at all and considered it torture to take a stroll on the beach. So much for that fun activity.

At least Brielle seemed to enjoy it!

After our trip to the beach, the kids were ready for a bath. Reuben and Brielle swam around like they were in the pool. Lots of laughing and splashing made for a really good time.

Apparently Nick was a little uncomfortable with the closeness Reuben and Brielle were experiencing in the bath because this is how he set them up to watch a movie. Ha!

The next morning, we got up and went to the zoo that is less than a mile from our condo. Reuben spent a good amount of time chasing these ducks that were wandering around.

Umm…do you see how close those tigers are? Is that safe?!?

Reuben enjoyed feeding the animals. Considering they are fed these pellets all day everyday by hundreds of little hands, these animals sure acted starved!

My sweet little angel was just happy to be along for the ride…as long as she had her blanket!

We were fortunate (???) to walk up on a goat giving birth. She was a first time mom and was sure to let the entire zoo know how much pain she was in. Bless her heart. I wanted to cry watching it, but just couldn’t look away. I’m happy to report that both mother and baby survived and seemed to be doing well.

Thankfully Reuben was too distracted by these goats stretching their heads way out through the fence to get food from him that he didn’t really pay much attention to the live birth happening within a few feet from him.

This zoo has a couple of animal encounters in which you can pay extra money to go in and touch the animals. Last year, we did the kangaroo encounter ($5). This year, we opted for the baby animal petting zoo ($1) over the baby tiger encounter ($50 per person!!!). Reuben was just as thrilled to pet a turtle as he would have been to pet a baby tiger so we made a great choice.

After about an hour and half at the zoo, Gabriella started to express how we were all feeling, so we decided to head to the beach.

This is the way Reuben enjoyed the beach…with a death grip on either Nick or me. It was a blast.

Both kids were much happier once we got in the pool.

This guy is enjoying life!

To be continued…


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