Vacation Day One & Two: A long trip across the country and a day on a boat.

July 13, 2011

I have been looking forward to the vacation we just got back from for, oh, about a year. I believe now that I was a mermaid in my previous life. The ocean is my favorite place.

Saturday morning started out at the crack of dawn when we groggily woke up, got dressed and walked out to our cab at 4:45 a.m. I put my over-packed suitcase in the cab's trunk and our vacation began. After checking in at the airport and getting Starbucks in our system, we boarded the plane for what would be a very long journey across the country to Florida. Now, I know that eight hours is not that long of a flight compared to people that fly across the world. But I have never flown across the world and I don't do well after two hours of having to sit still. Ask my husband.

We flew three hours from Phoenix to Houston, hung out on the runway for a good thirty minutes, flew another three hours from Houston to Nashville, hung out in the Nashville airport for an hour, got on a new plane and flew an hour to Panama City, jumped into my dad's car and drove another hour to the beach house we would call home for the next five days. I didn't sit down for a good hour once we got there.

We pulled up to our cute, beach-themed bungalow that my family had rented. The walls breathed everything beach.

My family - my mom, dad, Cameron (sister), Will (brother), Blake (Cameron's boyfriend) and husband - met up with some very good friends and past neighbors who we've known since us kids were in the wee years of elementary school - Chip, Debbie, Taylor, Blake (and Blake's girlfriend, Faith. I didn't know her then, but I'm glad to know her now.). They owned the house right next door to our rental which was more than convenient and how this whole vacation started in the first place.

Once we unloaded our luggage, we combined families for a joint dinner of grilled chicken, salad and potatoes.

We were reminded that night that you shouldn't pour water into an oven when you see flames. But instincts got the best of us. Fortunately, the potatoes were saved.

Chip showed off his homemade salsa.

And dogs were loved on left and right. What is a house without a dog?



The next morning, Chris and I woke up to a sweet surprise from Debbie. Chip and Debbie had come back to Scottsdale to celebrate their wedding anniversary, a place they fell in love with when they came to our wedding. They brought this orange marmalade all the way across the country from the very spot that we got married. That was a very sweet breakfast indeed.

Once we managed to wrangle twelve mostly-adults to get into swimsuits, pack bags and gather towels, we headed down to the marina where we rented two pontoon boats for the day. When the boats were fired up, we were off.

We anchored the boats at Crab Island, a very clear, shallow bay area that was in party mode for the holiday weekend. We were in the water, out of the water, laying out on the boat, laying out in the shade, eating, drinking, talking, and photographing.

I especially missed being able to eat ice cream this day.

The Aggies were well represented... were the Tigers....

...and the great state of Texas.

When we decided to head back to dry land, we made our way up and down the strip. Someone would be having fresh red snapper for dinner that night. (Can you find it?)

Will was extra-tempted to fulfill his dream to become a pirate, but we kept him on our boat.

Once we got back to shore, we showered the salty water and sand away and went back and forth between houses before settling down for a dinner of pork tenderloin.

(The "kids": Blake, Faith, Taylor, Chris, me, Cameron, Blake, Will.)

And our vacation was off to a great start.
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