Much-Needed Vacation

Perdido Key

For about a decade I’ve been vacationing in Perdido Key, FL. It started when my college girlfriends frequented a condo owned by one of their parents and has continued long since losing touch with that friend. Bronce and I have been to Perdido nearly every year for vacation.



This year since I’m working part-time and can work flexible days, we were able to get away for a whole week. Eleanor had been to the beach before (our trip in the spring to Charleston) but this was the first time she’s really get to spend time down near the water. We invited Bronce’s parents to join us for the first few days so we had some extra hands to corral the little stinker, and it was a big help. With us all at the beach, we took up a lot of room.


Eleanor hanging out with her Mimi.


Down at the water we popped up Eleanor’s canopy and borrowed a sheet from the condo to create this little play area. Because our rental included fabulous beach chairs and one of those giant umbrellas, we relocated the umbrella to cast a shadow over Eleanor’s whole play area.


Quickly I realized that she didn’t like the feel of sand on her hands or feet, which meant she happily stayed on the sheet and played without wandering around anywhere. Score!


Most mornings Bronce (and his Dad) would head down to the beach to fish. You can see Bronce out in the surf in the picture below. Storms the week before had created this strange channel along the beach separating the crashing waves from the beach where our chairs were.


Bronce caught a number of fish including whiting, a giant flounder (caught our last day… we weren’t sure what to do with it but I’m sure it would have been fabulous if cooked properly!), and this moray.


Here’s a sweet picture of our family taken on the 11th floor balcony of our condo.


Little Miss hanging out at the beach:


Me, snuggling with my Bug in the sun.


Bronce, dancing her toes in the surf. The water was pretty cold until you got used to it, so she wasn’t much of a fan.


Baby Girl and her Daddy


Out to eat. Shrimp Basket!!


The condo had a wall of mirrors. She was obsessed and kept “kissing the baby.” I’m sure the maid service was thrilled when we left and they had to clean all that glass… oops.


The last night we went on a long evening walk. As usual, Eleanor snuggled up with me in her carrier and we took some pictures as a family.



You might have missed…

I put up some posts that were a little (okay, a lot) late. You might have missed them in your feeder, I’m not sure if Google Reader and the like catch old back-dated posts.

Eight Month letter to Eleanor

A weekend with family in South Carolina

Baby Girl’s 9-month Letter


Lately, I’ve given a lot of thought about what makes a family (and what breaks it, but I’m not going there). We’re thankful to be surrounded by lots of people who have chosen adoption to build their families. I love that family can be created where there is no blood relation. Bronce and I have been blessed to gain family through adoption, through marriage, and {perhaps the best way of all…} through time and intention.

We spent some weekends traveling in June to visit some family. We spent one weekend with my brother, Jim, and his daughter, Kathryn. We spent the next weekend in Nashville visiting our best friends and old neighbors, the Adams family. Both of these groups are family to us for different reasons.

Eleanor travels well in the car (she’s a rockstar, seriously), but has decided she won’t nurse anywhere but at our house. As a result, both trips took place over the course of separate Saturdays – 4 hours there and 4 hours back to visit my brother… 3 hours there and 3 hours back to visit the Adams the next weekend. Here are some of the great memories we made:

In South Carolina it was HOT. Like, 95 degrees hot. With an outdoor excursion being either an hour drive away or unshaded, we opted to head to the nearest Chic-Fil-A to play on the playground with Kathryn. It ended up being perfect!


Jim and I got in the slide and played with Kathryn while Bronce hung out with Eleanor and talked to us from below.



Kathryn and Eleanor were adorable together:


They fell asleep in the car holding hands.


We hung out at Jim’s place for a while and went to a riverwalk with the girls on our way to dinner. We took some great family pictures there.





~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next weekend we visited the Adams family in Nashville. They lived on our street when we moved to Spring Hill in 2004. A neighbor introduced us and we completely hit it off. They’re our best friends in the world and we have a bond with their family unlike anything else. When they adopted their boys 4 years ago, we were present at the ceremony. We were thrilled to realize that we were headed to Nashville on June 18 exactly 4 years after they adopted them – so we got to celebrate Adoption Day together! Kindra and I spent some time away from the house with Eleanor, but due to the dreary, rainy afternoon, we all spent most of our time gathered together in the den of their home. As a fun bonus to our visits, their house is the exact same floorplan as our old Spring Hill house, so it’s fun to see how they’re making use of the space with their growing family.

These pictures of Kindra and Jason with Eleanor make my heart smile. They last saw her in early March when she was 7 weeks old. They were so excited to see her and hold her.


Kindra is so beautiful here. I think Eleanor is going to look like her with dark hair (I assume E’s blonde is only temporary) and bright blue eyes.


They boys posing with Eleanor.


Chris is totally enamored with her. Like… wants to hold her all the time, wants to play with her, took pictures with his camera (and showed her the results, naturally)… He’s super sweet with her.


A yummy ice cream cake to celebrate Adoption Day.


Family portrait:


Wait, that’s more like it…


Just the girls.



I’m writing this blog entry sitting on a comfy couch in our 14th-floor penthouse condo, overlooking the beautiful Florida beaches of Perdido Key. This is one of our favorite destinations, and it started in college when I used to venture to this quiet part of the Florida Panhandle with my girlfriends. Bronce and I made the drive here for our 5th wedding anniversary a few years ago and we knew it would be the perfect place for our Babymoon trip.

What’s a Babymoon, you ask? Yeah, we think it sounds kinda ridiculous, too. It’s supposed to be a cutesy play on the term “Honeymoon” – but a honeymoon takes place after the wedding and a Babymoon is the last trip a couple takes before baby arrives… so really the moniker doesn’t work. But either way, when we knew we’d have a few days off for my Fall Break this week we were certain that we needed to vacation to a place with sun, quiet nights, and few things to do. And, other than a quick trip out yesterday to a local t-shirt shop, we’ve stayed in the condo and only left for groceries.


Look closely and you can see the baby bump peeking out from my maternity bathing suit!

We left Wednesday after school (much to the chagrin of our ob-gyn who was concerned about the combination of my 6+ month pregnancy and the long drive!) and stopped every two hours for me to walk around and stretch. We arrived in Perdido at 1:30am Central time and after some issues with the lockbox for the condo (oh, that was a nightmare… I’m not even going there) we spent a restless night anxious for the morning and the beach.


This is how we spent the majority of our days – relaxing in the sun or under the umbrella, reading our books and soaking up some rays with the Beach Colony tower behind us.

Thursday…Friday…Saturday… all three days have looked about the same. Wake up late… relax on the couch with some breakfast and morning tv (we don’t have cable at home so this is always a fun perk for us!)… Bathingsuits and hours on the beach… Reading books, snacking on unhealthy beach snacks, a few beers for Bronce… And at night we’re back in the condo to cook a simple meal and relax on the couches until we fall asleep. Sometimes that “fall asleep” thing happens earlier than we anticipated. I promised Bronce I wouldn’t mention exactly how early he fell asleep the first day of our trip… I’ll just say it might be the earliest he’s ever gone to sleep in our marriage! Hah!

Throughout the trip we’ve taken some pictures on the balcony. In my last blog entry I promised an updated belly picture so here you go!

Babymoon_0010_edited Babymoon_0011_edited

And one of our family of three:

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*In case you’re wondering, I’m 27 weeks pregnant, a little over 6 months!