46 In Life

Spring Break {take 2}

This will be my second and final attempt at recapping our spring break. As of late, I feel like the world spins circles around me, like my children need me 24-7, like the daily routine alone is more than I can handle, and I feel as though there are so many other things I should be doing besides this but here goes anyway…


Our little trip to the coast took place a few weeks ago and I know if I don’t blog soon it will fall by the wayside. It was our first trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast as opposed to our usual stomping grounds of Florida’s Gulf Coast and we had a wonderful time! I was so very thankful that Mom came along for the trip because Justin had to work while we were there. It was so nice to have her help with the rovers, but more than that it was so good to have her companionship for the entire week.  I am so thankful that I have a great relationship with my mom, something that I certainly don’t take for granted. Considering my parents live a LONG, LONG way away, I often find myself wishing that Mom could meet us for lunch, pick up the girls from preschool, or make a TJ’s run with me.  Today {now Friday morning} I find myself wishing they could come see Paige in her program this morning, she has a hand bell part and is so excited.  Morgan will graduate from preschool next week and has a little solo. I wish they could be here to see her too. That was a little tangent… and all of that to say, I am so very grateful for the entire week that we had together!!

We rented a house in Fort Morgan, AL which is more remote than most beach “towns”. It’s about 17 miles west of Gulf Shores but shares the same beautiful white sand beaches!

The first few days we had dense fog… like nothing I had ever seen before! It reminded me of the snowstorms of my youth, minus the snow.


Thankfully it wasn’t long before the fog lifted and we made our way to the water!


The guys that you see in the picture above are BP oil spill clean up guys, they still have quite a presence along the coast. It was no bother to us at all that the clean up endeavors are still underway. Actually, it was kinda exciting considering we have a 2 year old little man in the family who is slightly fascinated with heavy equipment.


Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is a big track-hoe with a boom extension arm!? Regardless of it’s official name we enjoyed watching it and moved in for a closer view. The operator would pull it up to the shoreline, reach out deep and scoop up a big scoop of sand and then they would sift through it looking for oil. A very fascinating process and we certainly enjoyed watching. Speaking of oil, for those of you who may be wondering what kind of presence it has on Alabama’s Gulf Coast… this about the extent of what we saw.


And this had to be identified by Justin because I didn’t even know what to look for. Most of the oil has mixed with sand and is in the sand now, hence the boom to sift through the sand. To the untrained eye, the water and beaches seem to be immaculate!


Rover had a complete aversion to swim shorts of any kind. Thankfully this location was remote, quite private, with very few people so a few days he may have been nude on the beach! I finally convinced him to swim in his jammer shorts!


When we weren’t down at the shoreline we were on the deck taking in the scenery and coloring pictures.





Saltwater is so therapeutic… just ask Rover, I’m thinking about getting him one of those highly popular “Salt Life” bumper stickers.


One evening after dinner, Justin took us down the beach about 1/2 a mile to  see a little of the work he’s involved with on the coast. This is a shipwreck, which was very fun for all of us to see. {FYI: He’s an archaeologist for those that may be new around here, he also sells pine straw. He’s multifaceted.} Mom may have been more interested than the children.



After that we told the kids we’d stop at a convenience store for Moon Pies, smiles ensued.



We went into the Citgo, purchased said packaged, processed Moon Pies and then I informed Rover he couldn’t eat it in Mom’s car, that he’d have to wait until we got back to the house. This resulted…



Life with a two-year-old is never dull, in case you haven’t picked up on that yet. I’m convinced it tasted better to him since we made him wait.


Another night we went to Gulf Shores and hit up LuLu’s with friends. If you’re in the area and are looking for a very kid friendly spot… LuLu’s is your place!! The kids had an absolute blast. LuLu {Lucy Buffett} is Jimmy Buffett’s sister. Live music, outdoor dining, and a giant sand pit for kids of all ages to play in. My only advice is to go early! We got there around 5:15… this is key, unless you like to wait.





I caught Morgan in the sand toy bin, and she flashed me this sweet smile!


Rover is pictured above with sweet Mary-Reed, who is the youngest daughter of my friend, Jennie Marie. We loved having dinner with them and letting the kids play. Jennie Marie is a point-of-contact for the Knapsacks for Needs, Morgan County Junior League’s endeavor to help children affected by the tornadoes… I always think it’s nice to have a face with a name. And a couple folks asked about my scarf: Target, my cousin taught me how to tie it, you have to tie the ends in a knot and then wrap it around your head. Sounds so simple, but I couldn’t figure it out.


Jennie Marie also just finished an INCREDIBLE home renovation that I’ve been meaning to share with y’all! THE BEFORESTHE AFTERS her kitchen after is so incredible… and the bathrooms… all of it fabulous!

That night the sky was completely clear, and we could see all the stars and all the off-shore drilling platforms. The picture below was taken around 10 pm with a full moon. The drilling platforms are impressive. They are lit up at night like little cities in the sea and during the day {when it was completely clear} we could watch helicopters come and go to them.


Our last evening there Justin brought home Royal Red Shrimp {deep water, big shrimp found off Alabama’s coast} for dinner, and I tried really hard to get over the fact that these giant shrimp still had their heads on. I’m used to headless shrimp. He played chef and decapitated them for Mom and me before bringing them to the table! Post dinner we headed outside and I snapped a few pictures. A cool and breezy evening on the beach with daddy was the perfect way to wrap up our week.







Ok, gotta scoot… super crazy Friday!!

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  • MARY
    May 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Hey Darby,
    Thank you so much for sharing our Knapsacks for Needs project. We have had some response from your posts and so thankful for everyone who wants to give. I’m on the board with Jennie Marie and just wanted to thank you on behalf of all JLMC.

  • Emily Langston
    May 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    This made me escape from my super busy Friday. Those beaches look perfect to me.

  • Dianne
    May 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    You are going to have a fantastic summer!! Thanks for sharing this with your readers. I just love seeing the children. John Martin in his ” I am going to die ” positions reminds me of my son years ago! Very dramatic! Glad he finally got to eat his moonpie. 🙂

  • cat moore
    May 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I loved that you stopped and took time out of your day to share all this with us. My fave pics were the ones of Rover in his car seat laughing/smiling. Then, next my faves were him throwing a fit in his car seat (reminds me of my life) and then my absolute fave is the one at night where you can see the rigs offshore. We’ve never been to AL beaches either (funny since we live in B-ham), and all our friends calls us “beach snobs” because we’ll only go to South Walton or FL beaches. 🙂 I’m surprised at how white the AL sand is……oh wait…did you edit these?! 😉 wink wink…

  • Jennie-Marie
    May 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Darby, thanks for the shout out, we have heard from a number of your readers about Knapsacks for Needs, so thank you thank you thank you! LOVE your beach recap and I can’t wait to read about more of your adventures this summer! Carlton already said maybe we will go to the beach more this summer, he wants to hang out with Justin so bad. Much love to everyone my friend!!!XOXO

  • Snekcip
    May 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Great pictures Darby! Your pictures are so crisp, I feel like I can “smell the beach air”!

  • Ty's Nonnie
    May 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Darby thank you so much for THIS update! We usually go to Destin for our beach vacations, but this year we are going for a shorter trip and gonna try the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area.(We live in Arkansas)
    My grandson turned 2 in April and he reminds me so much of how you talk about John Martin. I am worried about him on the beach because he thinks he has to be naked in any kind of water also. He thinks pools and water holes are just outside bathtubs. LOL
    And thanks for the info about LuLus we know nothing about this area and where the best places to go with a 2 yr old are. Who know maybe we will run into you. See you in June! LOL

  • Amanda Wells
    May 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Love the wine juggling photo! You guys are going to have so much fun this summer!

  • Lindsey
    May 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    the pictures are awesome as always, but i especially love the “therapeutic salt water” jm and the coast at night. beautiful!! proud of you for juggling all you do:).

  • Denise
    May 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Darby, thanks so much for sharing the blog and your photos…What a beautiful place! You have a beautiful family!!! I ALWAYS enjoy reading your blog….have a wonderful, restful Mother’s Day!

    PS. Mary Margaret is still loving her rooster shirt…

  • Joy
    May 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Oh my, I know what you mean about the shrimp!! I lose my appetite for them if they have legs and heads!! (however, if they’re breaded and fried — and small — I’m just fine with ’em!) Great pictures! I also know what you mean about your mom being a long ways away, and it stinks. I live in Florida (not by my choice) and my parents are in northern California. They’ll be here in three weeks though, after four months. (which feels WAY too long). I think one of the worst moments I had last year was when my daughters had “Grandparents’ Day” at their school. I went to have lunch with them since no one else could be there, and it gutted me when I saw their faces as they walked in and saw the cafeteria full of people and thought no one was there for them. We’re homeschooling this year — not because of that, but I have to say, it’s nice to know that I don’t have to face that day again. 🙂
    Hope you have a very happy Mother’s Day!

  • shea
    May 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Fabulous photos of your beautiful family. I am still laughing out loud at the “salt life” photo of your little man. Hysterical! Oh! And we love Royal Reds…YUMMY! Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  • Abby
    May 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Hey Darby,

    I know you are a super busy Mom on the go, but I really appreciate you taking time to blog–your words are a real inspiration to me!! Keep it up as long as you can!! I’m an architect in Santa Rosa Beach, FL–I actually met your sister once because I work for a firm that she used to work for–she brought her cute Valentine’s Day card in for my boss. He told me about Erika’s blog, and that’s how I found your blog. Also, I grew up in Mobile, so I have gone to Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan many, many times!! A beautiful place!! I think you will really enjoy your summer there. Again, thanks for sharing!!

  • Jen
    May 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Love your blog! Always so much fun to read. May I ask where did you get the personalized note pads made? They look great.

  • JulieJ
    May 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Darby, so glad to see this update! Your photos are absolutely beautiful. I know you and your family are going to have a ball down at the Gulf this summer, and I can’t wait to be along for the ride!

  • JulieJ
    May 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Oh, and Lulu’s? One of my favorite restaurants on the planet. Awesome food and such a FUN atmosphere 😀

  • Michelle Felton
    May 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Beautiful pictures! We are going to Ft.Morgan this summer – our first visit. We are very excited about our upcoming trip!

  • Holly
    May 6, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Just wanted to say I’m so glad you took the time to document your trip. I have an almost 3 year old rover also. His name is Miller and he is such a handful, and a hoot too!
    The night picture is amazing. Also so good to see that the gulf coast has not been forgotten or swept under the rug.
    Can’t wait to see what your summer holds.

  • Lisa Sheets
    May 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Wow what a surprise to see your photo’s and recognize the houses that were in your photo…Wall Street..Summer of 42 and don’t remember the other one..We stayed there last August..Loved it and Love Gulf Shores…been there again in January and just got back 1 week ago…SHHHH..it is a secret that it is so nice there..we love it and I want to live there….Lisa

  • Kathy
    May 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Amazing pics! Would love the details of the night shot. It is ausome!

  • Bobbie
    May 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I love gulf shores, and orange beach, and fort walton….. and that general area. Beaches are looking good!!

  • flyinjuju
    May 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing, looks like a great time and a beautiful place. I have to say you MADE my night. Our little just turned 3 year old guy is giving us a run for our money, so it was comforting to know I am not alone. Thanks for being so honest. This mommy definitely needed to hear it. If you guys are ever in Orlando, I would love to connect. Our kids are similar ages and genders. (two girls then a boy, we have one additional girl after that, but what fun we would have) 😉

  • christy
    May 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I just love reading your blog, Darby. And I second everyone else – thank you for taking the time to do what you do on here! I know how hard it is too (my kiddos are 7,5, and 3 – same genders as yours!) I feel pulled in a thousand different directions most days thinking of everything I should do, then I end up doing virtually nothing. eh. You are an awesome mommy & blogger! And I must add photographer! Your pics take my breath away!

    That night pic is insane! I don’t know how you do it, but it is my fervent goal to take pics as well as you! Thanks again for sharing your family with us 🙂

    take care,

  • Kimberly
    May 7, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Gorgeous, as always! Our beaches in Northern CA look nothing like that….I’d love to spend some time right on the water like that!!! Glad you enjoyed yourselves 🙂

  • Lauren
    May 7, 2011 at 10:06 am

    what a fun spring break you all had – and how fun to have your mom with you! you are so right about the life with a 2 year old is never dull. although, grayson won’t be 2 until july, it seems like he is already 2 (or 4). he loves big machinery too – and really loves power tools. i love the picture of them looking at the big boom. it is so funny at the things that kids love and get excited over! and i am with you feeling like the world circles around you! it seems the same for me and i only have 1 – i could not imagine the feeling with 3! but you are right – they need us 24/7 and we are there! the most rewarding job ever! 🙂

  • Katie@ Noodle and Boof
    May 7, 2011 at 11:39 am

    What a fun week! Great photos!

  • Katie@ Noodle and Boof
    May 7, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Goodness gracious those renovations are incredible!

  • Meredith
    May 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write this blog! I know your life is crazy busy, but your blog always brings a smile to my face! I especially love this post. I grew up in Mobile and spent many a summer in Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan. There is a special place in my heart for the Alabama Gulf coast and I just loved reading about it. We also love Lulu’s and try to hit it every time we go. Loved your post and Happy Mother’s Day!!!!!!!

  • christine
    May 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented before and I’m sure you have thought this or others have told you this, but your son looks exactly like your father! I also have a little boy who looks just like my dad and I just think genetics are amazing. He especially looks like your dad in pictures where he has a hat on and your dad has a hat on. Have you ever noticed the similarities? Don’t worry about responding 🙂 I know you are busy!

  • Kelli
    May 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Looks like you had such a great time. We just returned from Destin and we had the most amazing time. We had quite a few moments of sand in the mouth and salt water! The beaches were beautiful and we only experienced a bit of oil (my mom must have stepped on a tiny tar ball). We drove a different route this time and we drove through Dothan and I thought of you 🙂 My mom also comes along and it is very nice having an extra set of hands and just getting to spend quality time with her.

  • Meagan
    May 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    The folks from Lulu’s come up to Birmingham on Thursday and were serving free burgers to victims of the tornados and the volunteers. It was super sweet of them, I had never heard of the restaurant before but I know I will be going there if I ever go to gulf shores. And thanks for posting info about the organizations helping with disaster relief. The devastation is unbelievable. I live in Homewood, and therefore had no damage. But a coworker in Cahaba Heights had her house destroyed. And I worked with Samaritans Purse on Thursday and saw the damage in West Birmingham. Its unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. Thank you for helping, and showing others ways to help.

  • Kara @ launching our life together
    May 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing. As usual, gorgeous picutres of adora le kiddos!

  • Cassandra
    May 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm


  • Larkin
    May 8, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Hi Darby,
    Love reading your blog. So glad to know I am not the only one who lives far away from my parents. I know what you mean about wishing you could just grab lunch with them. What a special time you had with your mom over Spring Break. We actually have a place in Gulf Shores and are going there on Thursday to spend a week and half with my parents. Your blog post really hit home and got me very excited. Thanks for sharing.

  • Chandra
    May 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I must say that I LOVE your blog and sometimes wish I was a neighbor of yours. I am happy that your mother was able to join you all. My mother passed the year I got married so she never had the chance to see my kids. I love to see grandparents that are involved. My mother-in-law isn’t that type and I have come to terms with it. I look forward to reading every post.

  • Serenia
    May 8, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    the lighting in the last few pics of your kiddos on the beach is so dreamy…great brightness to add warmth.

    sounds like spring break was fun!

  • Lynn
    May 8, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day to you! I love your blog and love the beautiful beach pictures in this post but, wow, … all of those drilling platforms aren’t so much “impressive” to me as they are depressing? Terrifying? Shaming? Praise the Lord. Forgive us our trepasses on your beautiful earth.

  • Kat
    May 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

    We have rented homes at Ft. Morgan several times and love it! Our first was Five O’Clock – a big orange house that we filled to the gills!

    I was wondering how the oil situation was, especially after hearing a commercial this weekend that the “clean up is done.”

    Glad you had a great time!

  • Julie @ Connell Tales
    May 9, 2011 at 11:11 am

    How fun! My husband and I are going to Fort Walton this Sunday and staying at a house by Harris Properties. I found them through your blog! I loved checking out these photos and can’t wait to visit. If you have any other suggestions in regards to restaurants/activities, I’d love to know them. Thanks! PS: You and your family couldn’t be cuter.

  • christy stout
    May 9, 2011 at 11:19 am

    My husband and I just got back from here not too long ago! I think y’all were just down the beach from us…I recognize some of the houses in your shots! We loved the gulf shores and are already planning to go back!!!

  • cousin
    May 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Looks fabulous!! Can’t wait to come see you all! And the beaches:) Love you! XO

  • HannahJ
    May 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    So lovely- how I long for a beautiful beach vacation- although the thought of my 2 year old little man undoubtably tantrumming like JM is a bit daunting I must say- thank goodness its just a stage;) Oh- and the said little man LOVES his Honeybee Tee plane shirt- its his fav:)

  • shannon reppard
    May 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    darby, what great pictures! love them! your tales of your littlest rover just crack me up . . . and make me feel like my life is oh-so-normal. 🙂 i have to wonder if two year old boys just have the wildness twinkling in their eyes from the get-go! and, i am so right there with you on life spinning around you. i told someone the other day that i am never going to be ahead of the curve . . . i don’t think i can even see the curve. oh well! such is life at this stage of the game! thanks for sharing your trip!

  • Melanie
    May 10, 2011 at 7:43 am

    The moon pie fit is SUCH a familiar thing at my house these days. I am starting to see a switch ( sometimes anyway). Hopefully the tantrums will start to subside soon!
    Amazing photos as always and thanks again for letting us know about the knapsacks. The big push is today and I missed out, but it seems that will be accepting them for a couple of weeks so I plan to get busy this weekend!

  • tricia
    May 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Loved seeing your pics of your stay at Wall Street. We stayed there the week before you, and had one day of that awful fog! It was about 3:00 in the afternoon before it completely burned off, I’ve never seen fog like that either! It didn’t stop my girls from enjoying the beach though! Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did!

  • erin
    June 6, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Just beautiful! You have a beautiful family. I remember my little ones when we were on the gulf. Now, it’s the cold Atlantic for us!