sweet home (away from home) alabama

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In case you don’t follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, I spent the last 8 days down in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  I know I have been doing my triathlon training recaps on Mondays, but honestly, not much triathlon training went on down at the beach.  I got plenty of running in (17 miles for the week, to be exact), but without a bike or a good lap pool to swim in, I just figured I’d take the week “off”.  (I actually added 2 extra weeks into my training plan just because of various trips we are taking this summer, so I figured it’s not too big of a deal that I only ran this past week.)

My family has been going to Gulf Shores since I was 8 or 9 years old and I look forward to it every single summer.  It’s always a week of relaxation, reading, naps, and stuffing ourselves silly with delicious, unhealthy food.  (You know, the perfect thing to eat when you spend 8 hours of day in a bikini.)

However, this being MacKenna’s first trip to the beach, it wasn’t nearly as relaxing as usual.  But, she did absolutely great!  It took us a few days to figure out what would keep her happy and entertained at the beach for a few hours every day (hello, $8 blow up kiddie pool from Walmart), but otherwise, she seemed to really enjoy it!  The sand wasn’t exactly her favorite part (from the child who loves the sandbox, but I can’t say that I blame her for not liking sand in her eyes and mouth for several hours), but she absolutely loved riding the waves with PawPaw and sorting shells into her buckets.

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Our mornings started extra early, thanks to the babes, and Matt would take over baby duty so that I could go run, switching off when I got back.  Holy humidity!  I mean, St. Louis is known for being humid, but it’s nothing compared to the south.  At 6:30 in the morning, I would be totally and completely drenched in sweat.  But, the views along the way made it totally worth it.  I only did 1 run actually on the beach (barefoot) and decided once was enough and spent the rest of my miles on the roads.  But, my runs started and ended with a view of the beach, so I can’t complain.

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We took our dear sweet time eating breakfast and hanging out in the condo before heading out to the beach around 10 each morning.  We really lucked out with gorgeous weather.  Last Sunday was the only bad day, but it never rained on us and was just a little overcast.  I let MacKenna have my space in the shade (really, she took up most of everyone’s shade) under the tent and I spent my time soaking up the rain (with sunscreen on, of course). 

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And four of our 6 mornings at the beach, we got a “private” show put on by the Blue Angels.  They are not performing at all this year, but since they are stationed over in Pensacola, they would spend about 30 minutes every morning practicing turns and flips.  Never the whole group together, but it was still awesome.  I’ve seen them once in person before when they came and performed in St. Louis, so it was cool to see them fly again.

We would head to the pool around 12:30 before heading up for lunch.  MacKenna would make it about halfway through her lunch before she started nodding off for naptime.  Matt and I switched off nap duty (Matt taking the majority of the days – love him) so we could have some time off.  My time off was spent reading and napping at the beach.  Exactly the relaxation this exhausted mama needed.

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Even the days I didn’t have off I spent out on the balcony reading and happing.  I might not have been at the beach, but you just can’t beat that view…

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Kenna would wake up around 4 PM from her nap every day (a good 3 hour nap – thank goodness!) and we’d play until dinner time.  I’ll share our beach eats on Wednesday for What I Ate Wednesday.  But, let’s just say, pretty much every night concluded with ice cream.

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Even after a week at the beach with my parents, Matt and I decided we needed one more day of vacation before heading home.  So, we took a slight detour home and headed to Lynchburg, Tennessee to check out the Jack Daniel’s Distillery.  It was more Matt’s thing that my thing, but it was a pretty cool tour.  I love touring breweries, so this really wasn’t much different.  Except that they gave our lemonade instead of whiskey at the end.  (Lynchburg is in a dry county.  You can pay $10/person for a tasting tour, but they can only serve you an ounce of whiskey.  We didn’t think it was worth it – oh, and we had MacKenna and you had to be 21 or older.)

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We spent our last night of vacation exploring the Nashville area, eating a fabulous dinner at a local brewery and ending the night with one of the best bowls of ice cream I’ve EVER had.  And that’s saying a lot coming from me.  (More to come Wednesday.)

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Now, it’s back to the daily (summer) grind.  Housework, work work, and triathlon training.  I’ll take the latter one please.  Oh, and trying to get MacKenna back on a schedule.  As I am writing this, we around going on over an hour of screaming at bedtime.  This might be a looooong week.  Anyone wanna take me back to the beach with them?!

  • Jen

    Looks like a great time! M is just too cute in her swimsuits!

  • Looks like a fantastic vacay friend! Come visit my and we will hang out at the beach all day with the girls ;)
    Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..Baby #2: 18 Weeks

  • Halsy

    Jeni’s is absolutely the best! I’m spoiled to have 4 locations where I live :) pistachio honey is my favorite flavor but the oatmeal cream ice cream sandwich is my absolute favorite dessert! Glad you had an enjoyable vacation!

  • Ryan

    You can buy Jeni’s at Straub’s in St. Louis. It is a wonderful Ohio born place!

    • Kristen

      I saw that on their website! I wish Straubs was closer – I live in western St. Charles County and work even farther west. Very rarely do I make it out towards the city!