Friday, May 27, 2011

Our First Family Vacation - Seacrest Beach, Florida


A few months ago, I told Rusty I knew money was tight, but that I thought it would be an investment in our marriage for us to dip into savings and take a vacation as a family. Traveling was so much a part of our lives before Asher, and it felt like a part of us was missing without it. Sure, we've been here and there for short weekend getaways with family. But, I craved a good, long, far away vacation with my husband and baby. He agreed. We set a budget and I started my searching.

Criteria:
  • Stick with budget
  • Within driving distance
  • Blue, tropical water (this = true vacation to me)
  • Poolside
Rusty was telling me about the waters of Panama City, where he spent time growing up. His grandparents had a condo right on the beach. He was spouting out names of places and things to do. I asked about the color of the water. He said just like Mexico or Jamaica. I said, we are there!

So, my favorite part came next. I searched online for places to stay. I wasn't too thrilled about staying in Panama City Beach. I wanted something a little less spring break, a little more relaxation. I got a tip from my friend to check out the Seaside area. This is where The Truman Show was filmed. I searched some more and came across the largest pool in that part of Florida - 12,000 square feet - in nearby Seacrest Beach. I hit up Vacation Rentals by Owner to see what was available for rent.

This is my new fave way to vacation. Rent a condo or home, straight from the owner. You get a home that's been put together and maintained with love. You also get a full kitchen, washer/dryer and lots of space. I cam across a giant 4-bedroom condo overlooking the giant pool. It was way more space than we needed (2,000 square feet), but I figure better to have too much than too little. This place ended up with the best deal out of all of those in the area that were available. Rates went up after Memorial Day (as would the crowds), so we decided May would be our travel time.

View from our lounge chairs by the pool. Third floor is our place.
People watching from our balcony. You know Rusty loved this!
 Enter Beach Bliss at Sable Point East, Seacrest Beach. They were even running a special for $500 off a week booked in May. So, we scored the place for Saturday - Saturday for $995. Awesome. The owners were awesome to work with. They suggested a lot of places that were family friendly and a few just for me and Rusty to try out. And the condo was right at the pool, on the third floor. Great people watching!

81 Seacrest Blvd. East, Seacrest Beach Florida
 After we booked, Rusty suggested we bring along my sister, Joni. She is our nanny while I work (and she goes to school), and he thought if she came with us, it would allow us some private time just the two of us. Luckily, it didn't take too much convincing to get her to ride along. We scheduled out her hours and our week. We traded off early mornings with Asher. And I do believe it worked out quite nicely.

Rusty on the hobie, on his way to pick me up.
So nice to get away, sun-kissed and holding hands with my husb as we walked to dinner. We even rented a hobie cat two days and took it out on the beach. Just like our honeymoon! I realize that having Joni come along with us was definitely a luxury, but I wasn't ready to leave for a week without Asher. And Rusty recognized the importance of us having some time together just the two of us throughout the week. It worked out well, and we are very thankful and very blessed.

Joni's balcony.
The condo blew me away. It looked nice in the photos, but it was even nicer in reality. My OCD never even bothered me. It was super clean and bright. The bathroom rugs looked like no one had ever stepped foot on them. The couch and rugs and bedspreads all looked brand new. It was impressive. And huge. We took the master in the front of the house, and Joni took one of the other bedrooms in her 'wing'. She had a bedroom, bathroom and attached den (fourth bedroom, actually) and her own balcony. I hope this helped her feeling like she had privacy and could enjoy herself in her downtime. We joked about how big the place was, but it was really awesome to spread out.

The week flew by. We were within walking distance to many restaurants, shops, beach communities, beach access. There was a neighborhood golf cart that took you to and from the beach for free (right across the street). We'd take walks each day admiring all of the beautiful beach houses. Each had its own flair.

The 30A area of Florida is a great vacation destination. It's part of the Beaches of South Walton. Check it out! Lots to do. Gorgeous beaches. Fabulous neighborhoods. Great family friendly area. We give it two thumbs up for sure.
 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

He's so my kid.

Hello and long time no see. I've been a slack blogger. I promise to do better, but I've just been recooperating from our vacation. Moms, you know how that is.

So, we went on vacation last week. And it was fantastic. The first morning in Florida, I introduced Asher to the McDonald's hashbrown. Those who know me well are aware that I went through this lovely phase of eating 2-4 of these hashbrowns for breakfast every morning for weeks. I'm not ashamed to admit that.

Along with said hashbrowns was always a large McDonald's sweet tea - well - half sweet/half unsweet (usually). I was delighted to discover that one McDonald's in the area had large sweet tea 2 for $1! Tea fans all around, isn't that awesome? I resisted the urged to fill up my 12 cupholders with large teas.

Anyways, back to the point. Asher loves sweet tea. When he sees me come near him with my large McDonald's cup, he goes nuts. Then he'll grab it from me and drink, drink, drink.

In Florida, I was kind and shared my hasbrowns with him for the first time. He took his half and gobbled it right up. He. Loved. It. Loved, loved. Here is my photographic evidence. See?


Those hands just make me melt! And McDonald's, please see me for rights to this photo for your future advertising needs. :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

This one time. At Oak Island.


Ash and I had the pleasure of joining Christal and Hadley at their condo on Oak Island last week. It was such a nice mommy-toddler getaway.

Of course, Asher showed his joy by staying up all night one night. I literally thought something was wrong, he was acting so bizarre at 2 a.m. Turns out, he just wasn't tired. Go figure.

We went out to eat a lot. The todds charmed everyone they met, except for the unfortunately grumpy prissy woman at the table next to us. She was clearly not pleased that I was giving him sweet tea and that he was dropping food on the floor. Gasp.

I'm so thankful Christal asked us to join them. Much needed momma bonding time. Was good for my mental health.



And Asher and Hadley fell more in love.



We took them to the beach. Hadley loved the water. Asher was terrified of it.




He did, however, love the sand. So. Much. Sand. To. Organize. He was in sand la la land.


Until I introduced him to the water, after which he was clingy and miserable. Silly boy, the beach is your friend.


Thanks Christal and Hadley for sharing your world with us. We love you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And soon, we vacay!


How thrilled am I that in a few short days, we are embarking on our first official family vacation. We are going to spend a long week in Seacrest, Florida. Where the water is tropical blue, the sun is shining and there are sailboats for playing.

There's also a giant condo overlooking an even more giant pool, both in which we will be hanging. All for a ridiculously affordable rate. You know I love myself a good vacation deal hunt. And I totally scored with this one. So excited.

We are driving down (yep), so that'll be an adventure all its own. Any travel tips out there that I must hear about? We are taking my sister to help with Asher, so we can have some quality Rusty and Kira time sailing, swimming, drinking, sleeping and maybe even helicoptering.

(And for those creepy people that (in my mind) stalk blogs and Facebook and break into empty homes - our home won't be empty. You have been warned. And we have very attentive neighbors. There. I feel better.)


My dad has graciously allowed me to take his DSLR with us. I'm so flipping looking forward to capturing way too many photos with it. For practice, we had an impromptu photoshoot (in the neighbor's yard, again). So, here's where you get my giddy photo overload. Enjoy!


 






And yes, I'm still obsessed with Babylegs. Even on boys. They are awesome for crawling and falling and all that jazz. I think they are precious.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, mommas!

Brought to you by the awesome folks at Disney.



Makes my heart smile. And smile and smile.

Can I go wake Asher up and hug him now? (Wait. What? Those Disney folks are good.)

Mother's Song: a traditional lullaby

My heart is like a fountain true
that flows and flows with love to you
as chirps the lark unto the tree
so chirps my pretty babe to me

There is not a rose wherever I seek
as comely as my baby's cheek
there's not a comb of honey bee
so full of sweets as babe to me

There's not a star that shines on high
is brighter than my baby's eye
There's not a boat upon the sea
can dance as baby does to me

No silk was ever spun so fine
as is the hair of baby mine
My baby smells more sweet to me
than smells in spring the elder tree

A little fish swims in the well
So in my heart does baby dwell
A little flower blows on the tree
My baby is the flower to me

Ten thousand parks where deer do run
Ten thousand roses in the sun
Ten thousand pearls beneath the sea
my babe more precious is to me.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


Happy Mother's Day to the most beautiful mom ever. Inside and out. I'm so honored to call you mine.

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." -- Abraham Lincoln

Friday, May 6, 2011

Asher's First Birthday: Party in the Park Details


Some may say I went a teeny bit overboard thinking through all of the details for Asher's first birthday party. But, you know, he'll only turn one once. And this is probably the only year I'll get to really do everything I want without the insertion of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the like.

So, I took several months, gathered things as they went on sale, or as ideas popped into my head. I kept the party on a tight budget and I'm really happy with how things turned out. Such a sweet day, with sweet memories.

Asher, doodlebug, this Party in the Park was just for you. With all the things and people you love. And your momma's love baked into every, single detail.

Location: Glen Eden Pilot Park
Asher loves the outdoors. And swinging. And sand. And exploring. So, this little park hidden away near our neighborhood was the perfect location. After parking, the guests had to meander down the greenway trails, over a bridge and past the playground. Landing at our picnic shelter hidden in the trees.

Several months back, I was approached by the nice people at BuildaSign.com about creating a sign on their site. I remember my mom putting up a birthday banner anytime there was a birthday in our home. I wanted to continue that tradition for Asher. So, I was thrilled when I logged into BuildaSign.com and was able to design a giant birthday sign just for us. I chose the words 'It's a Kroboth Birthday' so we can use the banner for each of the members of our family for many years. We hung this sign in our front yard the night before Asher's birthday and throughout the week. Yes, it was big, but it made a statement. I like that about it. For the party, we hung the banner from the trees, near the little bridge, to greet our guests. (Check out BuildaSign.com.)

Invitations: Frisbees in the mail
Read all about Asher's invites on my frisbee post. These were a hit with our guests. And I had a grand time making them.

Menu: Asher's favorite things
Patty cake from Harris Teeter (eVic customers get kid's first birthday patty cake for free!). I added the sprinkles for color and the Ritz cracker because they are Asher's favorite. Watermelon chunks. Ritz crackers and cheese ball (rolled in bacon bits instead of nuts). Lemonade.

Decor: Touch of home with a burst of color
For tablecloths, I used my grandma's quilts. They made me feel like she was a part of the day. I wanted the picnic shelter to feel like home.

I hung paper lanterns from the beams above us. A birthday banner at the entrance. And a long clothesline of canvas goodie bags along the back.

The goodie bags were a fun project. We used Asher's feet and stamps to create outdoor images on the bags for each of our guests. The kids' bags were filled with fun park playthings like bubbles, punch balloons and squirt guns.
 
We had sidewalk chalk available for coloring, a bubble machine for playing (this thing created a bubble blizzard, for real), blankets for the babies and balls for tossing. Handmade pinwheels (from Etsy, where else?) topped the tables and others danced along the sidewalk. 
 

The wagon from my childhood made its way to Raleigh to hold gifts. And after present time, wheeled all the babies around the park.

It was a beautiful day. With beautiful people. A beautiful birthday boy. And beautiful memories.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Really?

Mid-day rant.

Just when we are getting Asher to sleep with some form of reliability (yes, it's taken a year), guess what? Jax now needs to be taken out in the middle of the night. It seems that somewhere between 1 and 3 am, my dog must go out. Immediately.

The first morning this happened, I guess he was whining but we couldn't hear him (we don't have a baby monitor in his crate, after all). He then starts barking. I was sure someone was breaking in. Nope. Just needed a potty break.

Last night. Repeat. Except this time I heard the whining.

It was like the just-home-from-the-hospital-with-Asher whining that drove me crazy. Which, thankfully, calmed down months ago.

And now, now, my poor old dog's bladder and bowels can't make it through the night.

It's always something.

Anyone want to adopt a senior dog with all kinds of quirks and give him the love and attention (and round the clock bathroom breaks) he so deserves? I'm only half joking.
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