part un: bon anniversaire de mariage!

I'm sitting out on our patio... I just cannot get away from the sunshine. [ I'm making it a personal goal to spend as much time outside in this next month (er, sabbatical) as possible...and no pants for 30 days, it's summer kiddos]. well, I thought I'd drag my laptop out here to share about our absolutely wonderful vacation. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been able to get away for a whopping 11 days... we truly felt like birds released from their cage. I'll start with the first leg of our trip - selfishly, we wanted to spent the first half of the vacation just one-on-one...little romantic getaway...to unwind and reward ourselves for this past year. No matter how little money we ever have in the bank, there will always be somewhere to pinch the budget to allow for travel. It is just such a passion of mine, and ours, and I think it's so important. We are the type to crave the type of vacation where you can truly relax... you know, how sometimes you come back from 'vacation' and need a vacation? no way, not here...no agenda, no worrying, just playing by ear and by the pool...where there's always time to take in the sunset and you don't feel like you're 'missing anything'...you're just 'vacationing', imagine that? And, seacrest beach florida definitely delivers. Gosh, I couldn't even begin to give the play-by-play of our sweet time...but I want to try and remember the highlights of our trip (because heaven knows, the memories are already disappearing from my little ole' forgetful cortex). We flew into Pensacola, Florida and made the short drive to the beach house on 29 Endless Summer Way in our 'spicy' little rental car. The big ole' beach house and master suite all to ourselves was the ultimate luxurious treat. I have to say, the water this time there in the florida panhandle was some of the prettiest, most clear water that I can remember. We almost felt like we could be back on our honeymoon one-year-ago in the blue Caribbean waters of St. Maarten! We spent the days lounging by the pool and playing at the beach...riding waves, riding bikes, playing games in the sand, catching up on some conversation and summer reading. We dined 'sufficiently' - from quaint little sidewalk and beachfront cafes to...no joke, my alltime favorite sandwich in this entire world at summer kitchen cafe, just a bike ride away in rosemary beach (not a new discovery, I think my first taste was about 5 years ago, and they've been serving my face ever since...). we both devoured four during our stay. We did a little shopping at Seaside...& as cliche as it sounds, my favorite time was catching the sunset nearly every night... sitting by the sand with my husband & a glass of wine or a 'seacreast swirl' (our personal creation). It's amazing how cathartic it can be to watch the waves crash, crinkle the sand between your toes, stare off into the horizon...how it can help to erase the trivial worries that we seem to accumulate and help illuminate the 'big picture'. I sit by the ocean, and wonder - how can we not live here someday? Aaron and I have always talked of retiring and opening up an inn (so very stars hollow) in our later years - well, I think it's going to have to be one with ocean views.

Aaron's favorite part would have to be our trip to the marine park. We're right on the gulf, so they have a great resource for studying and showcasing all the ocean life - we saw dolphin shows, sharks, sea turtles, sea lions... and I even got the chance to kiss a sea lion! Looking at everyone else's photos at the booth later, I realized no one else went for the lips... the cheek, maybe, but no lips. But, i had seen the trainers do it during the show we'd just watched, so I figured it couldn't be that awful. I did have little herring-taste to my lips for about an hour or so which Aaron found absolutely hilarious. :)
To wrap up the personal part of our tour, we had to relocate from the beach house (unfortunately, there was some miscommunication - and the night of the 27th, our anniversary, got booked by another guest at the last minute) It was upsetting at first, but actually turned out to be quite nice - we booked one night in a bungalow in the town of seaside. Everything was in walking distance - the spot where we were engaged (above) & a cute little 'cafe rendevous' for our special anniversary date. They had delicious steaks, it was outside (bien sur), and they even had the 'italian street fair'-style lights strung up that reminded me of our wedding reception. It'd be a pain to keep uploading pictures to this site - so, I'll redirect you here: portraits of part one. Gosh, I've been journaling for quite some time, and this is just the first leg of the trip... so, I'll probably have to work on another post at another time of 'our first anniversary'...you know, that one...with all we've learned, where we've come, ways we drive each other crazy (in love, and just plain crazy), and how much we have yet to experience. I need to unpack and give the phalanges a rest, and I'll be back with part deux...