Our Family Trip to Daytona Beach


We've been home from our beach trip for over a week now. I can finally say I'm caught up with all 20+ loads of laundry (there was sand on everything), the floors are clean, & the house smells like lilac & fresh cut grass. And now I get to share all the photos I took & there were hundreds. Ryan had a business trip to Daytona Beach & Magnolia & I decided to tag along with. What better place than the beach to have to go for work?!. He was away working the first few days & the last part of our trip was our much needed family time.



We stayed at Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort & the Cabana Suite was absolutely perfect for us becuase we could walk right out the door and be on the beach! No need to pack up the stroller & go for an elevator ride, it was right there waiting for us to step outside. The morning sunrises were breathtaking! The first few days when Ryan was away working, after breakfast I'd use my Lillebaby wrap & Magnolia & I would go for a morning stroll on the beach.



Her reaction to the ocean was "ohhhhhohhhhhh" with the cutest exaggerated "oh" face you can imagine. Her thoughts about the sand between her toes were a little different & it involved tears! After our beach strolls we'd wonder around the boardwalk & she'd say "hi" to every truck, bird, dog, & person that crossed her path. By the end of the trip almost everyone at the hotel knew her name! She was Miss Popular & adored all the attention.




The first few days we had a vacation schedule that I must say was better than the one we have at home. We woke up & went to breakfast at the hotel, back to the room we went so we could change clothes before our morning walk on the beach, we'd do lunch & then nap time, we'd play a little before Ryan got off work, then we'd go out again for dinner & whatever else fun we had planned.


One memory that I didn't capture on camera was our first dinner on an ocean deck. Thankfully we were almost finished eating when all of sudden I saw something falling from above and landing on our baby girl. A huge seagull pooped on Magnolia! OMGoodness all I could do was make sure she didn't get it in her eyes. Ryan & I went into quick cleanup action with paper towels (that were thankfully already on the table), baby wipes with hand sanitizer, a warm soapy washcloth from the waitress, more baby wipes, and then straight to the room for a bubble bath. Yes, I am a clean freak & that incident totally freaked me out. She had no idea what happened & all we could say after the fact was, "hey, it's good luck!"


Daytona Beach was much cooler than I expected it to be. Admittedly, I wouldn't say, "hey, let's go to Daytona Beach for vacation!" The public beach was quite crowded, but nothing can take away from the beauty of the ocean. There were homeless people on the benches & someone even stole my beach blanket that I left out to dry on the cabana one night. There was a lot of fun stuff going on every single day. The first night was the Jeep Week kick-off party with a live band & every color Jeep you could ever imagine. You should have seen some of the Jeeps, I cannot even begin to describe the things we saw. Just Google Jeep Week if you're curious. There was a huge gymnastics meet going on while we were there & every time I turned around there was a little girl doing a cartwheel or back flip on the beach, grass, or boardwalk (the concrete gymnastic moves just about gave me a heart attack)! Prom, there was prom at the hotel and we sat outside on the cabana and watched all the kids walk by all dressed up. And my most favorite event & Magnolia's too, was the dog walk on the beach. Every single dog breed you can imagine was on the beach, walking proudly with their owner under the warm sunshine. Now we are in love with the Standard Poodle, a hypoallergenic breed I must add. And can you imagine Magnolia with a prissy groomed pink poodle?

Beach walks & dining outside was our favorite thing to do. Ryan & I ate a lot of fish tacos & Magnolia ate more french fries than I knew was possible for a 20 pound girl to consume. One night we went for a scenic drive to see a lighthouse & we talked about life & drank  limeades along the way.







Our first real vacation day together was spent on the beach! Magnolia held her daddy's hand and walked for a moment in the sand, although she wasn't thrilled about the weird sensation between her toes. I captured some of it on video & she'll surely look back one day and laugh at her tears from such a beautiful day. I always say she got the scaredy-cat gene from me!













The next day we spent the morning at the pool & Magnolia loved the water! The pool overlooked the ocean & so it was the best of both worlds. The weather couldn't have been better! 












There was a brand new shopping & dining plaza that we went to twice because they had a Ben & Jerry's with dairy-free ice cream. What is it about ice cream cones at the beach? They had fountains in the middle with light + music shows & Magnolia was absolutely blown away by it. You'll have to watch the video at the end of this post to see her facial expression at the music. I'm so happy Ryan caught it on camera. 







Our last night there, after a walk on the beach, we got a bottle of champagne that we popped on the cabana and enjoyed with some Motown tunes. And we ended up eating Panera in our room because we failed to make dinner reservations! 






When it was time to go home I actually thought we could use one more night there. Usually by the end of a trip I'm ready to get home to our own bed, but this trip left me craving a little more time. I think it's because Ryan was away working for two of the days & so it made the trip go by extra fast. 




We let Magnolia handle the check-in & check-out process at the front desk. 


She slept in the deepest of sleeps on both flights between Florida & Atlanta (one of many huge perks of extended nursing will be found on flights), and then she played peek-a-boo with every fellow passenger on the flight between Atlanta & home. She fussed a few times & certainly got restless, but overall she gets an A+ for baby travel skills! 


I made a video with a lot of the photos I shared above and some short clips from moments we recorded. It's totally ameateur, but we'll cherish it in the years to come! 



Hope you all are having an amazing week!

XO
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Wendy Correen Smith
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