I heard it snowed in Glacier National Park this morning.
Oh these days are hot. These days are humid. These days are also filled with adventure and stories about the deep blue sea.
We had out toes in the sand, again. Somehow, despite my longing for crisp mountain air, I desire the smell of salt lingering in the wind, almost to call us back to the water. After five years, the emerald waves that brush over the white sandy beaches have finally made it’s way to my resistant heart, and I begin to yearn for the warm gulf water to embrace my north loving soul.
My daughter, on the other hand, has been a child of the sea since the day she was born. When we park our little blue car in the parking lot parallel to the beach, I hear Aspen scream, “beach, mama! Beach! Oh, thank you mama!”. As I wrestle her out of her carseat she leaps to the ground and takes off running to the expanse of turquoise waters, at which I call for her to slow down and wait for her mama.
She was born of salt water and sunshine, with little fear of the subtle swells ahead. She is the modern day Moana. Her love for digging her toes into the sand and bathing out in the sun while I read a book about ships that have crossed the restless seas have sparked my own euphoria. Her curiosity as a cownose ray swims against the waves, entertaining themselves as they surf in the shallows is overwhelming, and her excitement as she picks up another shell while digging through the sugar white dunes reminds me to find equivalent excitement in my own life.
We are so different, yet the same. And I think that is why we have each other. What I lack, my daughter has an abundance of, and vise versa. My little sapling is more like a little starfish, but that’s okay, as long as she is my (and Scott’s, of course!) little starfish.
Yes, we are slowly preparing to transition to the north within the next year or so, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop loving our days along these beautiful emerald waters. I am currently reading the book “How to Raise a Wild Child” by Scott Sampson from Dinosaur Train. I have always had a passion for raising my child outside, but since diving into this very well written and informative book, my passion for raising a wild child has only grown. My goal isn’t just to spend time outside, but to spend time in the wild. In places that men (and women..) do not control. I mean, parks and splash pads, and amusement parks and walks around the neighborhood are nice (really they are, I’m not being sarcastic, I promise), but there is something so thrilling and satisfying about exploring out of mans realm- to experience God’s beauty as it was meant to be experienced.
Florida does have some beautiful nature trails, but during these hot and humid summer days, we tend to choose the beach for our wandering. During our beach days we typically play in the waves, collect shells, drink coconut water, walk to the point where we can no longer see the houses and condos, build castles out of fine sand, and I always manage to bring several books with us on our journey to read over the sound of small waves crashing into our snowlike sands.
Yes, my mountain loving soul longs for the days where we pick wild huckleberries and spend our evenings baking them into a mouth watering pie. I long for the times I can take Aspen to the creek and watch tadpoles swim upstream, and to admire a full grown moose tromping through our yard on a crisp autumn morning. But honestly, I know we are where we are meant to be right in this moment. I do not plan to rush God’s plans for us. This is something that has been so hard for my heart to come to terms with- to be patient and enjoy the slow and steady moments of the present- but knowing and having faith that my little family and I are in God’s caring hands always steadies my constant dreaming and planning.
In other news, today’s beach reads were:
Eric Carle’s “A House for Hermit Crab” and “Good Night Beach” by Adam Gamble. We also practiced our numbers today while counting the seashells we collected.
Warning: if you’re sensitive to moms nursing past age 1, redirect now to Mandie’s website here
Mommy and Me sessions hold such a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because I used to be the one behind the lens, maybe it’s because it captures such a beautiful essence of motherhood, or maybe because it’s just a lovely time to get updates photos of mommy and baby while they look put together. No matter the reason though, mommy and me pictures are incredibly valuable and the perfect gifts for moms on Mothers Day.
Aspen and I had such a great experience with Mandie Medeiros Photography. She was easy to talk to, great at communicating, funny, knows her shit, and is a hybrid photographer (which is freaking awesome and rare around here). If you’re looking for a local photographer, I highly recommend her. Her website is here
*Also, I never intended to breast feed this long. Three years ago, I said 6 months was my goal. Then it went to a year. THEN it went to 18 months. Now, we just hit two years and honestly, I loved each and every second of it, but I feel like we are both ready to let go of this time together. Breast feeding is such a cool, nutritional, empowering, and incredibly humbling experience, and I have zero regrets of holding out this long. I know some find it odd that she’s two and just now weaning, but honestly, it worked really well for our family. It was convenient, and Aspen and I loved that special time together where I was able to provide for her from my own body. Anyway, long story short, we are now beginning the weaning process, and although it makes me so sad (that’s the last thing that links her to infancy and giving it up hurts my heart), but part of me also wants to rejoice and say, “HELL YES, FINALLLYYYY!”.*
There are so many wonderful things about living in a Spring Break town. One of them being, you don’t have to leave when Spring Break ends… #Ilivewhereyouvacation BUT… there are also some negative aspects to this, like you know, Spring Break itself. With our Spring and Summer holidays approaching, we will be expecting a lot of out-of-towners and vacationers, making traffic on our beloved 98 unbearable, beaches over crowded, as well as a lot of trash left behind.
After living on the emerald coast for five years now, I have come to find out that there are a few things that could help keep the locals and transits from losing their minds with all of the tourists vacationing to our gorgeous beaches.
OUTFIT DETAILS: Dress- sold out, similar here // shoes
- MORNINGS WILL SAVE YOUR SOUL. Set those alarms and get that coffee ready to brew first thing, because this is the most helpful tip I have under my sleeve. Why? Because let’s face it, most vacationers are vacationing. That means ignoring their alarms, and getting some extra rest in the AM. So, while they sleep, we play. Anytime I need to run errands to Destin or Pensacola, I leave bright and early and get there when the shops open, otherwise I am stuck in traffic for hours (literally). It’s hard to do, but it is worth it. This tip doesn’t just work for traffic though, it is also helpful to get to the beach early. Typically, the only people at the beach before 10AM are older couples and beach runners getting in an early run before it gets too hot. Either way, getting out before the tourists do will be a life saver this season.
- Fill up on gas, incase you get stuck in traffic on a shopping trip to the mall (No, I’m not kidding..)
- Keep snack in your car in case you get stuck in traffic and get hungry.
- A friend mentioned that getting groceries via Publix Delivery or Walmart pick up is very convenient on the days it’s too difficult to get out and about early.
- Save your travels for the weekdays. The weekend traffic will be unbearable.
- Noted by a few local realtors: Saturdays are the #1 condo turnover day, which basically means that everyone is leaving town then. So this will be the worst day to drive, but best day to go to the beach because, well, everyone is driving back home.
- Ask for local pricing. I have heard through the grape vine that some businesses will raise their prices during tourist season, and that asking if they have a local price is never a bad idea.
- More than likely, our lovely tourists will not take as good of care of our beaches as we do. It is such a great idea to bring an extra trash bag on your beach outing just incase you see a few pieces of trash near by.
- Join in the fun. Seriously though, the amount of fun things that the Emerald Coast has for entertainment during vacation season is absolutely crazy! There are concerts, movies at the beach, community BBQ’s, fun runs, and so much more! So although the crowds might not be your favorite, acknowledging that once the crowds leave, so does all of the outdoor entertainment might help make the glass look half full.
I hope these tips help you this Summer, and hang in there. The rest of the year these gorgeous beaches are ours!
PS- This time of year is also the perfect time to go on a mountain getaway. We typically go to Northern Idaho to escape the crowds and heat. More on that soon!
Plan on taking your family on a coastal vacation without leaving the states this year? Down bellow I have a list of beach side towns along the emerald coast that are worth your visit.
Shop My look: Dress // Sandals // hat
I’ve lived on the emerald coast for five years now. In the past five years I have done my fair share of venturing to near by towns and exploring what they have to offer. Today I’ll be writing about the few I think are worth the visit.
The three larger and more touristy cities along the emerald coast are: Pensacola, Destin, and Panama City. But between these cities are numerous smaller towns that are equally worth the travels. Among these are: Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Okaloosa Island, Miramar Beach, and the 30A towns. The cheaper of these would probably be the first three: Gulf Breeze, Navarre, and Okaloosa Island. These destinations might not have the ziplines and shopping malls of the bigger cities, but they are only a short drive away. These towns instead, offer a much more laid back and slow paced feel, allowing you to have a truly relaxing vacation.
Some hotels worthy of your stay:
Portofino Island Resort on Pensacola Beach
SpringHill Suites by Marriot on Navarre Beach
Palms of Destin Resort in Destin
The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach
Grand Panama Beach Resort on Panama Beach
Thank you to Pink Blush Maternity for influencing this post
Guys, I freaking love my life.
My life is far from perfect. I have really bad days, I get frustrated with my daughter, mad at my husband, make a terrible meal, cry myself to sleep, and ocassionally feel like I’m falling into a black hole like any other normal person out there. But I also feel on top of the world and in total bliss while raising such an easy going child, a hubsnad that goes out of his way to please, cooking bomb ass meals, and frolicking in the grass in a coastal town. Life is rough, and life is great. We all go through so many emotions just on a day to day basis, but please, even on the Black Hole days, remember how much you really love life, and how much life really loves you.
This dress was thrifted (for $8!) but you can find a similar here and here. My sandals can also be found here.
30A is my favorite place along the Emerald Coast. Between the shops, the food, the pretty southern homes, the plenty of parks, and the beach near by, it is undoubtedly the most perfect southern town in my mind. 30A is the type of place that makes me want to live here forever.
We spent the weekend in Seaside, which is a small coastal town along Florida’s highway 30A. It is one of the sweetest and most quaint little towns I have ever been to. There are numerous food trucks, pizzarias, coffee shops, gelato shops, and local restaurants. In Seaside, everyone has come to the realization that cars are for losers. Instead, nearly everyone there rides beach cruisers to get to their destination. I have never been so in love with a town in my life (well, I mean, Sandpoint Idaho is also a personal favorite).
Because I was traveling for Valentines day, Scott and I decided to delay our date to Seaside until the weekend. We woke up early, Scott made a large breakfast filled with bacon, sausage, eggs, and fruit, and we packed our bags to spend the day on 30A. We first went to one of the many green grass parks and sat by the water fountain while playing tag with Aspen. Afterwards we walked further into town and ate some gelato, and eventually made our way to the historical and locally famous church. We let Aspen let loose and play in the grass before we started our trek back home.
For me personally, dates do not have to be elaborate or expensive. I much more appreciate some quality time with family in a gorgeous area, taking in the views and good weather with my two favorite people in the world.
Shop my dress here
Thank you so much Pink Blush Maternity for influencing this post.
There was a break in the weather, so we took off to the beach.
These are the good days. The days where you can put your swim suit on, put your toddler in her car seat, and take off to the beach. All that’s needed is a floppy sun hat, a cute suit, and a heart filled with wonder.
There was a time I hated living here. I have always been entranced by mountains, but had never cared much for the beach. Over time, God has opened my heart to this place, and honestly, the day He calls us elsewhere will be a very sad (but exciting) day for us. Watching Aspen grow here has really humbled me and has made me see the beauty in something I hadn’t really cared about before.
My hope for all of you is to find peace and happiness wherever you are at. Too much time is wasted complaining about circumstances that you can’t change, when it’s so easy to just change your perspective instead! Since I became pregnant with Aspen I have sworn to myself that I would figure out how to bloom where I have been planted. A little over two years later, and here I am. I have found joy in my life all because I have changed my perspective and opened my heart to something that it had been closed to before.
Today, choose joy. Today choose contentment. Today, choose to love your circumstance.
**Thank you so much to Pink Blush Maternity for this beautifully made swim suit.**
I find a classic black one piece is ESSENTIAL for the summer days ahead of us! Shop this one here
We are so fortunate to be living so close to the beach. One of my favorite things to do as a family is to take a stroll on a deserted beach and watch the waves crash onto our white sands. Aspen loves to pick up the sea shells and chase the gulls. Scott enjoys finding pieces of coral in the water, and I just love to watch them! So naturally, when Pink Blush sends me some goodies, I had to take them here to show them off.
Often I get asked by my non-momma friends my favorite thing about motherhood. This is it. Watching my little human, that I created, explore all of the gorgeous things God has created. I am forever grateful for being able to take part in God’s creation story and I find it my mission to show Aspen how to take care of our Earth and people living on it. And of course it helps to see her wheels spinning and her eyes light up when we get to play and explore with something new.
SHOP OUR LOOKS
SADIES OUFIT: Dress is from Pink Blush Maternity ( it is a maternity dress, but can easily be used post partum as well. They also have non maternity clothing), tench coat is old, similar here
ASPENS OUTFIT: Dress is Old Navy and coat is sold out, similar here
I have been living on the emerald coast for nearly five years now. The first winter we were here it was FREEZING. Literally freezing. At one point, they blocked off all the bridges and let kids sled down them. Although there was no snow, there was plenty of ice. Since then, our winters have been very moderate, with only a handful of cold days. But a majority of the time the weather is nice enough to still enjoy our beautiful beaches.
My favorite winter beach attire is a neutral and flowy maxi with a light cardi or jean jacket. To shop these looks:
Favorite neutral maxi dresses can be found here, here, and here
Favorite denim jackets can be found here and here
Aspen’s: similar jumpsuit here// cardi // bow
*As always, a special thanks to those who help me photograph my blogging images. Most posts are a always taken on my camera. If the images are of me, they are taken by either Shelby Hood or my husband. Thanks for being troopers, guys*