Most nights we traded off cooking and cleaning up the dishes, but midway through the week we chose to try and eat out. I say "try" simply because eating out with 8 kids and 7 adults is no easy task. We chose to eat at Crabs, a seafood restaurant in Pensacola with Gulf views that draws diners to its laid-back beach scene complete with live music & outdoor tables. I would totally recommend this little gem to any families headed to the beach, it even has a great playground right beside all the tables so the kids can run off some energy while waiting for their food, what more could you ask for? All the adults sat down at one table and promptly ordered the Tuesday night special, margaritas for $2.50. I enjoyed my frozen mango margarita while the kids did their thing. I should say here, that I was super bummed that Adam's brother John and his wife Sidney couldn't join us on this trip, they were both missed, especially on this evening.
Everything was going fairly well until the appetizers started to arrived, that's when the bottom sort of dropped out of our evening. Both Lawson and Theodore fell mouth open, face down, into the sand, which was not a happy moment for either of them. We got them cleaned up and all the kids seated at their booth (directly behind our table) as they were ready for some pre-dinner bites when Malachi stood up to do a little grooving to the music. He wiggled and rocked while standing in the booth and accidentally got right on the edge and actually toppled head first onto the floor. About this same time Ava Jane started crying and saying "her poo-poo was coming out", so I promptly got out of our very narrow booth and headed to the ladies room. Emerson decided to come with us and I just took both their hands and headed that way. A few minutes into our "toilet tour" someone entered the bathroom and asked, "is there an Emerson in here?" I said yes, but didn't ask any other questions. Apparently, the whole wait staff and other diners, were helping my family look for our son...just awesome! As if we'd not made a big enough scene already....I just loved being the cheap entertainment for the evening. It was one of those evenings where things started off pretty good and quickly escalated to "not so good". We'd had intentions of playing putt-putt golf and riding go-carts but by the end of our meal all of our nerves were shot and we decided bed time routines sounded so much better.
Another memory maker was taking a bike ride as a group. Our entire family participated including Emerson, who this year, requested that we bring his bike for him to ride on instead of just riding in the trailer with Ava Jane. We gladly brought his bike and he willingly went for a ride....a long ride. It wasn't long in length but rather duration. I stayed back to ride with Emerson and caught myself many many times asking him if he could pedal just a little bit faster? He never complained, he actually was having a good ole time, but I must say, it took all of me to not just lose it a couple of moments. Adam, Joseph, Peyton and Lawson (along with the three trailer riders) went on ahead and actually ended up passing us on their way back to the house. They had all been home a good ten to fifteen minutes when Em and I finally arrived. It started out fun but ended as a real "memory maker" if you know what I mean.
This cute sign was in one of the yards along our ride.
Here I am with my little buddy, steady Eddie...he was slow and steady our entire ride.
Another fun moment was when my sister in law gave all the kids some art supplies one morning while waiting for breakfast. The kids were excited to sit outside and paint on the porch. My nephew Theo was painting and one of the kids came in and said, "it happened". I didn't know what was being referred to, but apparently Grace had told Theo that he didn't need much water to rinse his brush with, but like any toddler, they think they "need" it, so not shortly after beginning his artwork, there was water spilled. Its just the way it goes with kids. It all starts out fun and then someone gets upset because their paper gets wet or someone messes with their stuff; it's all part of "doing family".
All of our moments last week, whether there was fussing going on, laughing, tears being shed or sheer enjoyment being had, it was all spent together, as a family. And family is truly a gift. It's a blessing to have people in our lives who know us well, who know us at our best and who know us at our worst and still they love us. I'm so thankful to have and to be apart of a family. I am lucky and grateful for the people God has graciously given to me and am also thankful for the memory maker moments that I now can look back on and smile or laugh about.