florida beach house – part 1

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The Smith family continued celebrating Christina's graduation by traveling down to Panama City Beach for a weekend of sun, sand, and water.  And artisan coffee. And really good Mexican food. Most of us made it down to celebrate with Christina: Conor drove down from Greenville; Sarah, Elena, Bill and Maura flew in from Maryland; and Brian and I flew over from Virginia. We were only missing Samuel, Matthew, and Kristen. I love spending time with family. With siblings growing up and graduating college and moving away, I realize more and more how precious these short days are together. Time doesn't stand still for anyone. And yet we have this unchanging promise: God is good.

t r a v e l

The weekend started out a little bumpy for Brian and me. Our flight was delayed, which put us in Atlanta at 10pm rather than 6pm. No big deal, right? We're young. We can roll with it. And besides, look at that view once we did get in the air! But then we landed in Atlanta and things quickly turned south. Namely, the excruciatingly slow rental car line. We stood there for, I kid you not, probably an hour and a half. The line barely inched forward as we listened to the three customer service reps try to convince each sucker – I mean customer – to purchase all available forms of insurance. Next time I will gladly throw all my money at Hertz and their expedient customer service. We made it to the hotel around 1:30am and crashed. But the next morning we woke up refreshed and ready for the day!

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b e a c h  h o u s e

It was SO GOOD to see everyone! The Samford commencement ceremony flew by, and before we knew it, we were headed to a coastal town on the panhandle of Florida. Christina and Sarah rode with Brian and me on the 4.5 hour drive south from Birmingham. Those girls are hilarious. Humor and energy brought to you by Chick-fil-a iced coffee. :)

The house Bill and Maura rented was an adorable little place close to the beach. We all loved that place. Elena said she wanted to live there forever, and I kind of did too. It was spacious enough for everyone to spread out, but had a great living space. Also: the bathroom was huge! Major plus. We grilled out and tossed around the football. Conor did a lot of studying for his upcoming CPA exam. And we washed so. many. beach towels. Not complaining though! I'm so glad we had access to laundry because we went to to the beach several times.

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e x p l o r i n g

There is plenty to explore along 30A. We stayed near Rosemary Beach and explored the nearby town centers. Little beach towns are so much fun! We found coffee shops and restaurants, bookstores and tourism stores, cobbled sidewalks and southwest-inspired architecture. The beach homes in that area were so pretty, and the landscaping was overflowing with lush tropics. I was completely charmed.

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b e a c h 

Ah, the beach. It was perfect. The weather was hot, the sun was shining, and the waves were…kinda big the first day! And actually, the lifeguards didn’t want kids in the water past their knees. At one point in the afternoon, a lifeguard on a four-wheeler rode by and beeped his horn at some bigger kids who had ventured too far out. A four or five-year-old little girl playing in the wet sand heard the beep and jumped up. She immediately rushed out of the water toward her mom, repeating in the most adorably repentant way: “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” The warning wasn't for you sweetie. :)

Brian bought Elena a wakeboard, and she spent 90 percent of our beach excursions in the water. I don’t blame her. The water was warm and clear. We all got a lot of sun, which was perfect after a week of cool, drizzly DC weather.

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Stay tuned for Part 2 :)

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