Our Family Vacation to Indian Shores, Florida


Last week Ryan, Magnolia & me, along with my sister Haley & her two girl's Mylene & Adalyn took a family beach vacation to Indian Shores, Florida. We rented a two bedroom beachfront condo & spent as much time as we possibly could with our feet in the sand. We rode the waves, looked for seashells, soaked up the sunshine, built sandcastles, napped under the cabana, smelled of sunscreen with salty hair.








I always struggle to sleep on my first night away from home & I think Magnolia shares in my restlessness. We were both tossing & turning in the middle of the night. I felt a little bit like a kid on Christmas Eve anxiously waiting for the sunrise so we could get out to the water. At one in the morning Magnolia & I just couldn't get back to sleep. While everyone else was dreaming we snuck out to the deck & quietly sat in a lounge chair listening to the waves crashing on the sand. All of my blessings were running through my mind & I looked out into the black sky & saw a shooting star! A wish was made, although in that moment all I could do was look down at the baby girl that I'd wished for on shooting stars all of my life, she was right there in my arms.


Each morning my sister & I would wake up bright & early while everyone else slept-in. We'd have hot coffee on the deck as we watched the turquoise water hit the sand. Addy would wake next. Then Haley & her would sneak off for quiet morning walks on the beach alone before the busyness of the day started. Addy collected seashells & spotted dolphins. Our sweet Magnolia & Mylene had sleep-offs, which is very unusual for Magnolia. Ryan always laid in bed waiting for Magnolia to wake since we didn't bring the baby monitor. Once everyone was up & moving we'd either go get breakfast or head down to the water. Our favorite brunch was at a place called Sweet Sage Cafe & Boutique. We dined outside in our own private gazebo surrounded by beachy sculptures, greenery & real life lizards. Addy drank a lot of root beer & Mylene would have eaten seafood all day long if she could have.



The entire trip revolved around getting in the water as much as we possibly could & dining out with several stops at the Candy Kitchen. The girls got chocolate coins & candy pizzas & dinosaurs that poop & the shop had a retro feel with all the vintage candy from back in the day. Clearwater Florida was only a thirty minute drive from our condo & we had an unlimited supply of wonderful restaurants to choose from each day.



Everyone's favorite dinner restaurant was Frenchy's Rockway Grill in Clearwater. It was right on the beach & we got there just in time for dinner at sunset. There was a live band that had the girl's dancing in their seats while Haley & I sipped on frozen cocktails. I had the coconut margarita & it was all that you'd want on a beach vacay.




After dinner we were headed to the car & Addy spotted the biggest rainbow in the bright blue sky. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night.

The next day was a rainy one & so we had pizza on our deck as we watched the thunderstorm over the ocean. Haley & Ryan were dreaming of pizza on the beach all week long, the conversation started at the airport & continued on until they got it! We had a somewhat lazy day after the pizza with long naps as the thunder banged outside our windows. The night ended with a trip to the Clearwater mall where Ryan rented Magnolia a remote control car. I can say with 100% certainty that Ryan had way more fun than Magnolia driving the car around the shopping mall. He tried to put it in high gear & Magnolia pretty much said NO. By the end of their drive Magnolia was smiling & laughing about the little adventure.



Magnolia nursed on the beach & slept under the cabana. When she woke we ran out to the water & played with the seashells & watched Addy build the biggest sand castle. There were so many moments that felt like I was living in a dream. I always hope & pray that we are giving her the most beautiful childhood. All that she experiences while traveling is something I believe will live in her soul for all of her life. I read & hope she learns, "Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers & to lose sight of that familiar comfort of home & friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things. Air, sleep, dream, the sea, the sky --- all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it." by Cesare Pavese.








On our drive to the shopping mall we asked everyone what was their favorite part of the trip. We were all in agreement that the beach was the best part, however we decided that Magnolia's favorite part was Addy. A memory I'll always cherish is the way that Magnolia's face would light up every single morning when she was greeted by Addy's big smile. Addy always included Magnolia in everything she did. Ryan & I talked about how great it was to see how much Magnolia loved having a "sister" for a week. The laughter between the two of them made the entire trip extra special. 

My sister did Magnolia's hair every night before dinner. The piggy tails seriously had my heart leaping with an overdose of cuteness. 




Addy had a loose tooth before we left for this trip. One that my sister was sure she'd lose before we got there. It was a running joke that she'd lose it on the beach & sure enough she lost it on the beach. My sister had to hunt for the tooth amongst all the seashells! Thankfully she found it & the tooth fairy was able to find her all the way in Florida. The tooth fairy was so excited about Addy's tooth that she left a rainbow for her over the ocean. She discovered it the next morning when she was searching for seashells!


Some of the best & funniest memories were made in our mini-van. It all started at the airport when Ryan had to do some serious packing to get all of our luggage plus the stroller in one vehicle. After dinner one evening we were headed back to our condo when I've Had the Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing came on the radio. OMGGGG I'm laughing just thinking about the van with all the windows rolled down & every single person singing the song at the top of their lungs, including Magnolia!


We all spent so much time on the deck taking in the beauty of the ocean. When the thunderstorm came the skies went from huge dark gray clouds to the brightest turquoise & the waves were crashing in on the sand really hard with the loud thunder above. The deck was the after beach snack spot with everything from popsicles to popcorn, to fruit & cookies, to chips & leftover french fries.





Haley & her girls talked about how much they missed their doggies every single day! It was so sweet to hear the girls imagine how their furbabies would react to their return. On our first afternoon there, Ryan & I had a video chat with our breeder in Las Vegas, & we picked out our baby girl. Our breeder is such an amazing guy & plans to personally fly her out to us the end of this month. We cannot wait for her to join our family & we hope she likes to travel because we have some cool places we want to take her, like the mountains.


Our favorite lunch spot was a beach restaurant called Broke N Bored. It was the cutest little place with the sweetest staff & it was so clean. They cleaned Magnolia's high chair before bringing it out & that won over my momma heart. All the food is made from scratch & it was delicious. We ended up going there for dinner on our last night in town & we sat out on their patio and drank red wine & ate the best fried green tomatoes.  The kids spotted lizards & talked to the locals about their doggies.


I feel so blessed that we got to take this family vacation with my sister & her girls. No doubt this was Magnolia's funnest trip ever. I've never heard her laugh as much as she did last week with all the adventures & new experiences she got to share with Addy. Ryan did such a great job hanging with five girls for a week. He was a total gentlemen lugging all of our overpacked bags through the airport, he ran us all over town from Target to the mall to CVS with 100 bathroom stops in between & he was the best photographer/chauffeur/babysitter/comedian.




I'm still playing catch-up with endless loads of laundry & dreaming about our fun times last week. Magnolia started this new thing since we've been home, she'll wrap her arms around my leg & kiss me over & over again. There were several times when I was running around the house doing chores when she literally stopped me in my tracks with all this love that she has to offer & I was reminded of the importance of slowing down to enjoy the small things.

XO
The Smiths
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Wendy Correen Smith
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