Monday, September 16, 2013

St. Augustine Beach Trip 2013

We have gone to the St. Augustine Beach area to stay at the beach for a week for three of the past four summers.  My dad's parents used to get us a condo at the beach many summers when I was a kid, so my parents have continued to do the same.  The beach where we have stayed is technically Butler Beach - it is in between St. Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach.

First, here is how to entertain a toddler in the car: a retractable tape measure.  This was a last resort, but she seriously pulled the tape out and pressed the button, giggling, for 20 or more minutes!  Of course, it didn't amuse her nearly as long after that, but it was nice for a while when it was a novelty to her.

The face of a one year old who has only napped ten minutes all day???  Seems happy enough!  This was at dinner after we finally made it to Jacksonville.

The reason we stopped in Jacksonville, about 45 minutes away from the beach, was that we left home on Friday so that we could see my grandaddy who lives in Jacksonville.  He is almost 98 years old!!  After a couple falls over the last year, he was not up to traveling down to stay a few days with us at the beach as he typically does.  So we stayed overnight to visit him where he lives with his third wife Leila in a retirement home.

We stayed at a hotel near their home, and these photos of of the girls in the hotel lobby (above are Caroline, my niece Julianne, and Cecilia).  This is a Marriott of some type that my parents found when they have come down to stay in this area before.  I am in love with their breakfast there... it is not continental, so of course I don't love the cost of it!!  But they have really good stuff, made to order, and they serve Starbucks coffee.  Lots of choices, fresh eggs, fresh fruit (not just the token apples and bananas included in most free hotel breakfasts). 

Somebody taught Lucy to make funny faces... so she ran around the lobby making this face over and over.

Cecilia with my other niece, Chloe

There's Lucy making that face again... My brother Mike and his wife and two daughters just came for the weekend so they could visit Grandaddy and Leila and then spend one day at the beach with us.  He can only take a week of vacation per year aside from a few weeks around Christmas, so he worked a half day on Friday and they joined us at the hotel late Friday evening.

Saturday morning, we went to Grandaddy and Leila's place to visit with them for awhile.  Leila walked out with the girls (and a couple of parents - we didn't make her take five kids by herself, including two 1 year olds!) to feed the geese and ducks some bread.  So, we all chatted for awhile, and the girls did a few puzzles that they have there at their retirement home.

Then we played Try-to-get-a-photowhere-at-least-everyone-is-looking:

This was probably the best one I got - only Grandaddy wasn't ready yet, and Caroline's eyes are closed.

This one looked good, but Chloe had decided to flee the shot...

Grandaddy looks amused as Mike tries to wrestle Chloe back in place...

And there she is, safe on her daddy's knee.  I can't believe Lucy sat with Leila the whole time herself!

Then we left to get some lunch and shop at Costco - which can both be done in the same place; how's that for efficient? - and we were thinking we'd drive down to the beach house after that.  But we couldn't check in until 4:00, so we'd be just waiting around for awhile.  So instead, we went back to hang out with Grandaddy and Leila some more, and Lucy was able to get in a good nap on their bed!

The bigger girls did a puzzle with Leila - or "Henny," as her grandchildren and great grandchildren call her - while Lucy napped, and then we chatted a few more minutes before heading down to the beach house.
The outfit Lucy is wearing is one that Leila picked out and bought for Caroline when she was around a year and a half old!

On Sunday morning, we went to Mass - after finding a church that had one at the time we thought the closest church had Mass! - and then in the afternoon, Karen, my friend from high school, and her husband and their daughter came to visit for the afternoon!  They live in Jacksonville, so it is good to get a chance to visit them while we are down there.

Precious baby Sophia, who had just turned one, is my goddaughter.  And Karen is Caroline's godmother!

So happy!!!

Lucy and Grampa down by the water

I was a little concerned that she'd just wander out into the ocean alone!  The waves were strong the first couple of days... since Mike and his family were leaving this afternoon, they left Chloe's water wing style life vest so we could use it for Lucy!
Cecilia shows a shell she found

Caroline digs in the sand

In the late afternoon after Karen, Jason, and Sophia left, we went out on my brother Stephen's boat to ride up the intercoastal waterway to St. Augustine.  My mom stayed at the beach house to prepare fish and shrimp for dinner - yum!! - while we went out for an hour or two.

Here's my youngest brother Tim on the boat.  Stephen had taken Mike and his family out earlier that day before they had to leave to go home.  Apparently you have to wash salt water off a boat shortly after being out in the water, and so Stephen wanted to take us out that same day so he'd only have to wash the boat once.  
The hubby sitting at the front of the boat

Lucy, my dad, and I sat in the back most of the time.  Lucy and I stayed back here the whole time, actually.  I think it is the longest she has sat on my lap since she learned to walk, ha!

I was able to get a picture of myself while holding Lucy as we rode along!

Here's where the big girls sat for most of the ride.

I had passed the camera to Chris for him to get these photos...

Here's the St. Augustine lighthouse

For some reason, I really love the angle on these shots and how everyone is looking in different directions...

Caroline was excited that Uncle Stephen let her drive the boat for a while!

Lucy looks so dazed here, ha ha... I stood up when we were going slowly so we could see a little better.  Then I let her stand up just between my knees once I sat down again, and she liked that - she was still close to me and safe, but she could move around a bit:

Back at the beach house the next day...

Cecilia waits for others to get all sunscreened up... she entertained herself by playing "why are you hitting yourself?" with Uncle Stephen.  If you have any brothers like mine, you will have played this game before, I am sure!

Monday morning: now a bit safer in the waves with the life vest water wings thingy!

We always make fun of my dad for wearing this t-shirt at the beach every year, because the first photo we have of him wearing it was when we were at the beach near St. Petersburg, on the Gulf... when I was 16 years old.  Just for perspective, that is getting close to 20 years ago!  Hey, the shirt doesn't look bad for that age, and so I am thinking maybe he really does only wear it at the beach!

Those condos in the background of the above photo are the ones next door to where we stayed.   There is one main entrance, and the place we stayed is off to the right (north).

Caroline, Uncle Stephen, and Cecilia (and some random other people) in the ocean

Sitting and letting the waves come up to her

Here is our beach house - they are townhouse style.  Ours was the balcony 2nd from the right side of the photo.

  Chris was flying this kite that my parents brought...

Lucy takes her water wings up to where Grampa and Gramma have set up the beach chairs

Cute little baby legs running on the sand...

Lucy smiles at Gramma while digging
Lucy stole Uncle Tim's beach chair when he got up to go in the ocean - she left him with a wet, sandy place to sit when he came back!
This is her favorite towel.  I used it on her once after she was in the backyard kiddie pool, and now she thinks it is hers.  She cries if somebody else even acts like they are going to use it!

Here are Caroline and Cecilia with Uncle Stephen on his boat before he left on Monday afternoon.

In the pool that afternoon... Lucy loved to jump off while holding hands, and later in the week got brave enough to do it by herself, with only an adult standing nearby in the water - just like Cecilia did at a year and a half old at this same pool (toward the bottom of this post)!

Speaking of Cecilia - she got really confident with swim lessons a week before our trip and learned to swim underwater!

And back to the beach the next day... the waves were calmer this day and throughout the rest of the week.  This adorable swimsuit and hat were Caroline's, and I love seeing my toddlers in it at the beach.  How blessed I am to have been able to enjoy it three different years on three different babies! :)  Here is when Cecilia wore it!

(You can tell it was Caroline's, seven years ago, because of how bleached out the hat is compared to the swimsuit!  Don't know why the hat wore worse than the suit over the years... but I still think it is adorable!)

Holding up a shell

She makes this face all the time.

Digging in the sand with the "Bob CAT!"

Just priceless.

So pensive.

Visiting with Gramma for a few minutes

The girls buried Daddy in the sand!!

So red!

Lucy swimming in the pool with Gramma.  The pool was shared between all the townhouses there in our complex, but it was often just us there.

My dad, Tim, Cecilia, and Chris

About to jump in...

Tim has to have three things to bring down the the beach: cheap beer, a Kindle, and Jimmy Buffet playing on the iPod. 


Grampa refills the hole with water for Lucy

There would probably be more photos, but sand and/or moisture got into the zoom lens and the camera wouldn't even open up the lens for me any more... but we got lots of good shots at the beach!  Not really any indoor shots of the beach house, but it wasn't as interesting as the beach house next door that had all the "helpful" signs everywhere... although those people sold their place and it got completely remodeled.  Apparently the Florida Gators basketball coach was staying there, and my dad schmoozed his way in there to see it, ha!


Carrie said...

I would LOVE to know the name of the condos you stayed in! I've been wanting to take the kids to St. Augustine to check out the historical landmarks there and Ruby hasn't been to the beach before!
Looks like a fun trip!

Erin said...

Hey Carrie!
The place we stayed is called Sea Gate. I think each unit is owned individually and rented through whatever company the owner wants to use (the place a few years ago in this same complex was actually self-rented the place with all the "helpful" signs). This is the complex, The Villas at Ocean Gate:
Since my parents took us and paid, I don't know how much it cost, but it had enough space for my brothers, my SIL and nieces... so it might be bigger than what you need unless you're going with another family or two. There is a place right next to these that has condos that I think are smaller - Hibiscus is the name of that one. They share a driveway off the main road and the boardwalk out to the beach with Ocean Gate. Here is one of the Hibiscus ones:
There also seem to be lots of beach houses of varying sizes for rent all over the area!