Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beach Vacation!

We definitely hit the ground running during the month of June...the first two weeks of summer were filled with doctor's appointments, swim classes and even some professional development.  So my little family was definitely ready for some relaxation in the sun when we headed down to the beach the last week in June.  

As Craig and I were discussing potential vacation plans way back in January, I mentioned that my favorite family vacation growing up was actually the summers that we spent renting a cabin on the lake.  But since we don't have a boat (nor did we want to rent one) I suggested that perhaps a beach trip was in order.  Craig took the bull by the horns and immediately began investigating beach house rentals as well as what would be the best beach to visit in Texas.  We also decided to rent a house because Natalie requires three meals a day and that could get expensive rather quickly.  By having a house with a full kitchen I could pack stuff for breakfast, snack and all the in-betweens in an effort to save money.We wanted to stay away from the Galveston area but also didn't want to head down to South Padre because that's a LONG drive with a two-year-old.  So it was settled that we would be vacationing in Rockport, just a little northeast up the coast from Port Aransas and Corpus Christi.  If you have small children I definitely recommend it - a great beach with shallow, clean and clear water and a wonderfully quaint downtown area.

So without further ado....our vacation.

We left the house around 6:00 in the morning because when mapped out on my phone, the trip looked like it would take about six hours...without the necessary stops made to accommodate a two-year-old.  It was actually a beautiful drive - we got off the interstate in Waco and took a two lane highway the rest of the way down to the coast.  It gave us an opportunity to drive through some super cute small towns (some that I immediately Googled and Zillowed to look for job and house opportunities!) as well as take a little side trip where Craig indulged the history nerd in me...

The mission and presidio at Goliad where 300 men who had been captured during the Texas Revolution by Santa Anna's army were executed.  Seeing this historic site really put everything into perspective for me - I was able to see how close these buildings were to each other; how the presidio sits on a hill with an amazing view on the valley below; how the oh-so-important source of water runs right next to both the presidio and the mission.  

I am so thankful that my husband could hear the excitement in my voice as I realized that Goliad was ONLY a thirty minute departure from our route and HOW COOL it would be if I was able to visit this historic site.

Mission Espiritu Santo

The entrance to the presidio near Goliad, Texas.

The chapel at the presidio.

My loves in one of the towers that would hold on-duty soldiers protecting the presidio and mission.

The open yard where most of the 300 soldiers were executed.

Craig was in charge of searching for and narrowing down our choices for beach house and he did an absolutely WONDERFUL job.  The house was right on the water and had enough space so that four adults and one toddler could co-exist quite happily without feeling like we were all on top of each other.

The front of our house.

The view off the front porch down the canal.

My dad and Natalie - these two spent a whole lot of time sitting on that balcony talking about all the different boats and ships that passed by our house.

Those bright blue eyes have faded since her infancy and have settled into a quiet (and meaningful) shade of gray.

Happy to be relaxing on the balcony with my little girl.

There was a lot of THIS on our vacation.

The gorgeous and peaceful view off the back of the house.

Craig and Natalie heading off to the water!

My parents examining the beach.

We typically hit the beach each morning at 10:00 which was late enough to be warm......

but early enough for us to score some sweet shade.

I really think we hit the jackpot - this is one of the prettier beaches I've experienced on the Texas coast.

My whole family digging in the sand.

First time in the water!

The princess child sitting on her throne and chomping on some snack.  Swimming in the water and digging in sand is HARD WORK when you're two!

Since my parents have been so generous with their time and energy since Craig and I had Natalie, we decided to treat them to a delicious dinner at Seafood and Spaghetti Works in Port Aransas.  And of course we also had to do a little driving around and site seeing as well.

Natalie and her dolphins - she actually was able to spot a couple from the back of our beach house!

So happy to spend time with our daughter and my parents.

Granddaddy and Natalie checking out the boats.

Natalie and her Nonna.

Cool girls in our sweet shades taking fun pictures while waiting for our ferry to take us back to the mainland from Port Aransas.

What is a vacation without ice cream!?

Natalie and her daddy cuddling on the couch.

This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of them for a few reasons - first of all, notice her arms...always have to be just like Mommy and Daddy; and secondly...check out that look on her face!  Total love and devotion to her Daddy.

Family selfie!

By the third morning of our stay, we were all a little worn out from sitting in the sun so we headed thirty minutes down the coast and spent a few hours at the aquarium in Corpus Christi.  Of course Natalie loved looking at the fish, dolphins, turtles, alligators and otters.  And I think all four accompanying adults had just as good a time watching Natalie enjoy her animals.
Checking out the USS Lexington which sits in the water across from the aquarium.

Worn out from a morning at the aquarium.

The holy grail of BIG boats for Natalie - a double barge.

This vacation was exactly what Craig and I had been hoping and praying for since we booked it in January.  The perfect location, the perfect house and a wonderful time with my parents and Natalie.

I can't wait for next summer to do it all over again!

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