Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pensacola Beach: 2015

At the end of June we made our annual Noto family trip to Pensacola Beach.  The weather was great, and the water was the calmest/prettiest we've seen in the past few years.  The usual crew was in attendance (Texas Notos, JuJu, Nidia, Aunt Gina, Tay Tay, Pistol Pete).  The Luling Notos stayed in the house with us this year, and the kids were so happy to spend a week with cousin Bella.  The only hang up of the week was that Preston was up 2-3 times a night, but that's the norm these days.  Added bonus: LOTS of babysitters!  Prepare yourself for mega picture overload.  I actually did not take very many, and the few I took were on my iPhone.  So thanks to my mom for letting me steal her pictures.

We left Houston at 5 am.  We decided to take Jon's truck because it has way more room than the Pilot.  It ended up being a great decision, despite the fact that our cargo in the truck bed was covered by a blue tarp to protect everything from rain.  I kept joking that it was a good thing we were going to Pensacola Beach, because there's no way they'd let us on 30A with a blue tarp!  Whatevs.

Princess was READY.  The kids had been asking, "How many more days until the beach" for WEEKS.

Breakfast at CFA, complete with cow headgear.
This little calf was NOT a fan of the car.  If he wasn't sleeping he was crying/whining.

The trip there took two hours longer than expected because of construction traffic and an accident that shut down I-10.  It was a hot mess, but totally worth this view!

After dinner the first night we spent the evening on the porch.  Madeline told us she was "looking at the stars."

The next morning a giant shopping trip was made to feed the troops for a week.  This included 90 eggs, all of which were consumed by day 6.


Check out the thighs on this kid.  Preston loves his JuJu!

 The water was perfect!

Aunt Gina: baby whisperer.

Tent city.  

I'm happy to report that this beach bum enjoyed the beach as much as the rest of us, until we wouldn't let him eat sand.

Preston slept like this for over an hour one day.  Whatever works, right?

Father's Day was the day after we got there.  My kids are so lucky to have this guy for a daddy, and I'm SO thankful to have him as a life partner to raise these monkeys.  

And how lucky are we to have such a great dad?  I like to remind him how I have caused him the least amount of stress out of the four of us over the years. :)

Now....the FOOD.  Shame on me, I did not write down everything we cooked.  Here's what I can remember: Mexican Lasagna with Rollie's rice, Maw Maw's chicken with homemade mac and cheese with artichoke casserole, crawfish rice casserole with strawberry spinach salad, green salad with lump crab meat, pasta jambalaya, boiled ruby reds (shrimp), grilled burgers/hot dogs with Nid's potato salad, banana pudding, four layer delight pie, praline ice cream cake, eggs benedict and Poppy's waffles.  Whew. 

Apparently I thought some of the recipes were photo worthy.  Beach going peeps:  Make a big pitcher of this Hilton Hammer and thank me later.  GOOD stuff.

 Matching hats because we're cool like that and don't like to brush our hair on vacation.

"Cheetos?  What cheetos?" (For the record, I was not the one who fed my then- 7 month old chips!)

I don't know whose feet/legs these are, but the view sums up my happy place.

Kerry (the masseuse who came to the house last year and this year) also teaches yoga.  She held a yoga class for us one morning, and now I think we have some new believers in the power of yoga!

You better believe these little feet were moving 100 miles an hour in the cool water.


Our attempt at a family picture....

Andrew didn't like it when I asked him to look at the camera....

The kids played a competitive game of go-fish with Pistol. 

Dance time!

Aimee is modeling the water baby sling, a contraption I picked up at the beginning of the summer when Preston decided he didn't like his pool float.  This sling was a lifesaver for carrying the chunk back and forth from the beach.

No family gathering is complete with out a poem from Tay-Tay.  This thing still gets recited on a daily basis around here.

Our friends, the Weber's, were at the beach the same week as us.  Madeline was so happy to have Sarina there, and it was fun for me to introduce our friends to extended family.

The island made its debut.

On Thursday Andrew discovered a snorkel mask, and spent most of Thursday and Friday "looking for fish."   Jon was snorkeling with him and at one point Andrew popped up and said, "Dad!  It's a giant fish."  What he saw was a giant stingray in knee deep water.  Eek!

On Saturday morning we packed up and headed home.  The drive home was free of wrecks and construction, and was so much better than the drive there.  We had such a blast and are already counting the days until next year!

I would also like to document that Fergie had a little vacay of her own.  Uncle Ben watched her for the week and took her to Galveston for the weekend.

Thank you, Ben, for spoiling your "first niece" while we were gone!