last week i spent the days with my family in destin, florida, located on the gulf of mexico, better known as the emerald coast. i could just sit on this beach forever! my family has been vacationing here since 1988. in a way, it is one of the few things that is still familiar to my childhood. i haven’t lived in the house i grew up in since i was 15 and all my childhood toys/memorbilia are packed away in boxes in my parents basement and 3rd house since my childhood home. needless to say, something familiar is comforting. when we moved to alabama when i was 15, destin was just that much closer. it is a big hot spot for southern residents and occasionally the midwesterners. there are lots of southern accents floating around the area…just something else to bring back memories.
spending the week in destin brought back this nostalgic sense of all the family trips we have taken there over the years. driving past the different resorts and houses we have stayed at and picking up on all the things that, to me, are reminiscent of this, (technically) island. the sand is like flour and sugar mixed together and is soft and supple on your feet. the water, a salty,crystal emerald green. i have been to the beaches of cancun, hawaii, a few caribbean islands, croatia, barcelona, italy, and west coast beaches of california, washington, and oregon…none of which have yet to compare to destin. it is simple and lovely, and clearly holds a soft spot in my heart. the sand dunes are covered in sea oats (for some reason i love that name, sea oats) and the water so clear you can see the little fishes biting your feet. more often than not you encounter jellyfish (with an occasional sting), sand crabs, mole crabs, dolphins, mussels burying their way back in the sand on the shore, sand dollars, a plethora of sea shells, and once i found a sharks tooth that i covet.
destin, is also the one place i will get in the water feeling comfortable. i will sit on a beach anyday, but to actually get in the water i want to be sure i am not stepping on stingrays or being swarmed by sharks (ha!!). the water is clear enough here that i am brave enough to do it. this week we were lucky to have a few days of calm waves so that i could float in the water, as i have a thing for floating in pools. sometimes on a raft, sometimes just my body. what a view to see emerald waves bouncing up and down in an endless landscape. i love the feeling of getting out of the ocean…as though i have just gotten a massage, to sit down and open up a book while basking in the sun. i read then again by diane keaton per a recommendation of my friend stacy. it couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for feeding my soul. if you like diane keaton, annie hall, or typical self deprivation…it is a good read. occasionally, i bust out the headphones and take a walk on the seashore contemplating my lifetimes goals, the past, and the future. tamer animals by other lives was pretty much on repeat. i love these moments when i all i can see is the beauty in my faults and my triumphs inspired by the words and music of others. somehow, the beach always evokes this for me.
the day after we arrived, so did tropical storm debby. we were all getting a bit nervous as no one could say which way she was gonna go. if she decided to head west, we were screwed for the week…and 15 people in one house can get small real fast. we spent the day reading, eating, playing on iPads, watching the weather channel, doing puzzles ( a traditional beach pass time in our family), and sitting outside watching the clouds roll by. although, i complained the whole day about the possibility of spending a week in rain, it was quite beautiful. the next morning i woke up and to my surprise, the sun as well. the clouds continued to roll through, but no rain, and the sun strongly made her presence here and there. we managed to get our suits on and head to the beach. i also managed to not put sunscreen on my legs because i thought, clouds=no tan.my legs hurt for 3 days.
the rest of the week was perfect. due to the hot and dry jet stream sweeping the country, tropical storm debby was pushed east…and the rest of florida was swamped with water. how were we so lucky? the humidity was fairly low, the wind strong, and hardly a cloud in the sky. we mostly stayed around the house going back and forth from the beach to the pool and eating in between. we all tooked turns cooking to alleviate my dad from doing all the work (he is the cook in the family). we made it out to dinner only twice, hard with so many people and kids, once to my dad’s favorite and the classic local restaurant the back porch. we always feast on crab claws and amberjack. i didn’t take many pictures of the food, as i was too busy stuffing my face. throughout the week we ate homemade nachos, fish tacos, mango and sticky rice, pizza, pasta,oven fried pickles, grilled cheese, cake batter milkshakes…you know, just to name a few indulgences.
there are plenty of things to do in the area…shopping at alvin’s island which has now taken over the area…(i prefer the original store that i spent hours at as a kid) and the san destin outlet malls ( i always hit the jcrew!). there is big kahuna water park (no, thanks) and who knows what else now a days. we hardly leave the house. the area is swamped with resort after resort with fishing, golfing, tennis, boating…and everything else a beach offers. one evening my brother and i went to topsail state park…that is a post to come!!! a fun little adventure.
i have 8 nieces and nephews, and one on the way. angela, my sister’s oldest was spending a month with her other grandparents, so, she sadly wasn’t with us. the rest of the kids are just the cutest. sometimes i can’t believe how many babies are in our family now…none of which are mine. ha! i am always biased to the youngest though, and this time it was violet. elleanor, a close second as the pretty little princess. i can’t get over how big jake, the oldest grand child, has gotten. sure makes auntie bix (what they call me)seem super old! they each have their own cuteness that makes me smile. they really do grow up so fast!
i am so lucky to have such a huge, amazing, loving, and giving family. i think my favorite thing about us all is our collective humor. i love the way my sisters snicker, and how goofy my brother can be. my dad is the ring leader of the jokes and i can say we all get it from him. we laugh at the stupidest of things, making fun of each other along the way. poor mom, she gets it the worst…but she has such a good sense of humor about herself, not to mention her intellectual capacity and amazing choices in sunglasses! addie and dave chime right in with the craziness and laughter…a pre-req for anyone who might want to join the fam. i love my family a whole lot.