A trip that begins with a flat tire on our trailer on the side of the road usually doesn't bode well for the remainder of the excursion, but in this case we got the bad out of the way early and the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful (at least there were no unwanted events, anyway!) Luckily, the tire change that could have added 3 hours to the trip only took about 30 minutes thanks to the quality equipment in the trailer and the expert skill of Cannon the mechanic.
It was actually nice to get out and stretch our legs on "Hope Way." I had to smile to myself when I saw the road sign where we noticed our flat tire. I think Jesus wanted us to have to pull over on that particular road. I felt like he was making me a promise for the hope that lies ahead. So in a flash what was bad turned to good and we were on the road again.
We stayed in Panama City Beach, which is right next door to Rosemary, at a condo with our friends The Mims. The first night and day we were there by ourselves so we ventured out to the Boathouse Restaurant (I do not recommend this place-the food was not very good-but the view of the boats and marina made up for it) The highlight of the night for Parrish was getting to see the big pirate ship dock, so of course we had to go and inspect the boat up close and snap an "arghhh" picture.
As a welcome surprise Sommer, one of my best friends from high school who I haven't seen since our wedding, was in town visiting her parents at their beach condo in PCB, so I finally got to meet her kiddos and hubbie and also got to see and catch up with her family. It had been too long!
Once the Mims arrived that afternoon it was non-stop pool, beach, ocean, pool, beach, ocean, "I want a popsicle", pool, beach, ocean, build sandcastles, go boogie boarding, hunt for seashells...you get the idea.
To get Parrish to keep sunscreen on his face I bought blue "zinc." He looks like an indian tribal chief in most of our pictures, but I'll take that over a sunburn any day!
During our down time inside we saw a lot of this...little heads sticking up over the top of MAC books, ipads, iphones, etc. We had to laugh. At one point Parrish said, "Mommy, you are so good at downloading and love to do it!" First, as if the highlight of my day is downloading new games and books. Second, I am positive I did not know the word "download" when I was 4. By the time they are 12 they are going to know so much more about technology than us parents. I am going to have to take a class just to have any parental control! :)
Friday my dad (who Parrish calls Pop G) and step-mom Phyllis (who Parrish calls Nana P) drove over from Tallahassee to visit and help with Parrish while we worked at the West Indies Festival in Rosemary selling our Olivia Charles Furniture. Pop G is a big kid and all of the little ones (Cade and Arlington included) instantly attached themselves to him. He taught the boys how to ride the waves on a boogie board so he was obviously their hero. So much so that one night Cade was talking in his sleep and screamed out for "Pop G!!!!" It was hilarious!
We had a great dinner at J. Michael's Restaurant in PCB Friday night. The men had been fishing earlier that morning and brought home lots of delicious red and black snapper. Their boat captain told them about J.Michael's because they will cook your catch and provide sides, etc for a reasonable price. They call this the "hook n cook." Cute. We ended up splitting it 3 ways-fried, blackened and grilled-and all were divine. I am still dreaming about their slightly sweet hush puppies with whole kernel corn inside. To me they were more like a beignet and less like a hush puppie. Too bad they weren't open for breakfast. I would have made the trip!
It was a kid's paradise, too. There were play areas inside and out and they gave out balloons which the boys promptly had us blow up so they could bat them back and forth (and into the plates of our neighbors). Thankfully it was a kid-friendly place so a little latex in their potatoes didn't seem to bother them!
My sweet hubbie worked our booth at the West Indies Market in Rosemary all day on Saturday and Sunday and it was HOT! We drove over both mornings and stayed until after lunch but by then the kids were melting and needed the pool at our condo badly, so we headed out and left Cannie to do the selling. It was a great success and we were thrilled with the number of new customers we gained over the weekend, all while getting to see some of our Bham and Montgomery friends, too!
While browsing at the market, Terri and I discovered precious kids tee's by Notably You (notablyinviting.com or www.facebook.com/notablyyou/) Their artwork is precious and if your little boy is into super heros like mine, they have versions of their favorites that us moms would actually call cute. The sailfish and camping tent are my faves. Parrish got Pop G to buy him a ninja shirt (which was my least favorite in the book, but even that turned out adorable) And I couldn't resist buying him the tent. Above is his final product. Check them out. They are around $20-25 each. She also does precious invitations!
And no trip to PCB is ever complete without a trip to ride go carts on the wooden elevated track followed by sticky cotton candy and a shoot-out at the arcade! :)
One of the most bitter-sweet parts of the trip for me was watching Terri and David's daughter Arlington, who is just a few months younger than our Olivia. She was totting around and loving the sand and water and I just kept thinking, "this is not how it's supposed to be." Olivia should be here with us. We should be watching her do the same things Arlington is doing now. We should be watching them play together. I was so torn between wanting to spend every minute with Arlington and wanting to run away and hide from the reminder that I would never be watching our baby girl do the same things. I did pretty good until Saturday night, but by then had kept it in long enough and pretty much had a break down and hid in my room from dinner until the next morning alternately crying and reading a devotional for encouragement. That night after falling asleep I had a dream that Olivia was still with us. We were in a store and I was walking by the baby girl clothes as I always do thinking "she's not yours anymore, you don't have a baby girl to dress, why are you looking at these clothes still?" And then all of a sudden she was in my arms again and it was all a nightmare and she was really still here with me and I had the biggest sense of relief I had ever felt. Then I woke up and the dream had been so real that for a few minutes I was really confused by the feeling of relief I still had. I halfway expected to see Olivia until reality settled back in and I realized it was only a dream. A glorious, wonderful dream, but still...only a dream. And that is where Olivia will always live. In my heart, mind and in my dreams...until we see you again, sweet baby girl.