I sit writing this post in the very early hours of the morning, watching the steam drift out of my cup of hot lemon tea. I am counting the minutes until utter chaos and noise as my 8-year-old niece and 5-year-old nephew wake up.

It's currently a mad house over here. Toys strewn all over the floor including plastic monster trucks, a pink polka-dot giraffe, various Legos, and the remains of a “Jenga” game. Michael and I are taking our niece and nephew for the week and recommendations for what to do with them are VERY welcome.

Let me back up. Last Saturday Michael and I packed up the car, dogs included, and headed to Florida. We stopped at his brother's house in Navarre. He graciously took the dogs so we could venture an hour or so further down the Emerald Coast to Blue Mountain Beach to spend the week with my family.

My family has been heading to Destin, then Miramar Beach, and now Blue Mountain Beach (near Seaside) since my Mom was a little girl (so for over 60 years!). I've been to many beaches and these are still my favorite.

We spent the week with my mom, dad, 22-year-old twin sisters, Michael, enjoying utterly perfect weather — crystal clear water paired with calm seas and snow white sand. We spent one day catching blue crabs at a Destin pier near Crab Island. My mom boiled the crabs until they turned a sunset orange-red and we spent that night pulling out crab meat and dipping it in melted butter.

Our the days on the beach consisted of reading, walking and floating in the waves … me on a swan. Oh… and making many, many pina coladas.

It was so relaxing to spend time together with my whole family. Especially this year — monumental in more ways than one. Some of the reasons I can't YET say on the blog. But anyway, my dad is working on his book, one sister is going to Rome for the Summer, both sisters are entering senior year of college and my mom is editing a book and managing all of us and then some.
Usually, time with family feels rushed, so it was nice sitting on the beach, talking until we were pink in the face. Yes, I did get burned. My skin was not ready for the sun.

Dipping my toes in the clear emerald water was just what I needed to clear my head and relax.

We strolled around Seaside, ate at Goatfeathers, and devoured enough ice cream for a small island. More on where to stay and what to do later!

At week's end, Mom and Dad drove me halfway to Navarre (which is where Michael's brother lives) and I tearfully said goodbye (I'm a kid at heart.) Michael and I spent Friday and the rest of the weekend with his brother and two kids.

We got to have our kids back, and by that I of course mean the dogs. We took them to the beach. I don't think there is anything cuter than dogs at the beach.

…. #DogModels

They had the best time running in the sand, chasing the waves, and trying to unsuccessfully catch fish. After spending quality time in the sea and sand we got to hang with Michael's side of the family and learn what it's like to be around kids 24/7. Exhausting. But really fun. And these kids are nothing but sweet.

On Sunday, we
drove 452 miles back to Nashville with two kids, two dogs, two
adults, and lots of luggage in one car. Hugo sat under my feet as I
played rock-n-roll hits from the '60s to give the kids a lesson in
music. I remember road trips as a kid I would be mercilessly quizzed on
the classics like BB King, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Chubby Checker, and Elvis Presley. I have my mother to thank for making me conscious of important, timeless music.

Oh, I hear someone up… I have to go be an adult now. Wish me luck! If you have suggestions for entertaining kids let me know.

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