We rang in my 37th birthday at the Navy Lodge, but my precious family made it a sweet day despite a sour location! Breakfast was donuts (Custard Filled Long John’s for me!), lunch was Panera Bread near the mall, and dinner was Mexican food and margaritas! I didn’t have to cook at all!! :)
Andy and the Kids made a fun birthday banner and decorated the living room with crepe paper. We bought a fudge bunt cake from Walmart and I had mint chip ice cream on the side.
BUT the very best part of my birthday was a hugely successful clean water campaign!! Earlier this year I heard about Charity Water whose mission is to use 100% of money raised to provide clean and safe water for people in developing countries. My heart was broken when I listened to stories of how a lack of clean water devastates lives and families, so I knew I had to do something to help out.
I donated my birthday to the cause and my generous family and friends raised $1145!! That money will provide water for 37 people who need it! How awesome that my goal was to provide water for 20 people and it ended up being 37 on my 37th?!!?
Pensacola in the summer is HOTTT. There are lots of fun festivals to attend downtown and we had a ton of fun at Gallery Night with some of Andy’s classmates and their families. We were all soaked with sweat, but still managed to enjoy tasty tacos and rockin’ tunes!
Upon graduating from the Aviation portion of his program, Andy received his flight suits! Seeing him in this uniform was crazy. Made me think of Top Gun! I’m seriously proud of him. He works so hard and keeps such a great attitude.
And you should see his buns in these jumpsuits! ;)
Not long after we FINALLY got into our home, my mom and Mike came for a visit! Mom helped me hang pictures and get my decor situated which I LOVE! She has such a great eye for that stuff and I love getting to benefit from it!
One day the guys went golfing on base while mom and I decorated and enjoyed a fun lunch together :)
We got a group picture before heading out for a seafood dinner at a nearby beachfront restaurant. It was a great visit!
The very next day I saw my first personal airshow by the Blue Angels! They practice on base regularly and my yard feels like a front row seat! I cannot tell you how excited I get when they roar overhead. It’s unbelievable! I just wish mom and Mike would have had a chance to see them too!
We spend plenty of time at the nearby kids park. Here you can see Grace is red-faced and sweaty, but the kids don’t let that hold them back from having fun :)
Our local library has a monthly “Read With Dogs” program. For about 20 minutes the kids sit down with a calm and cuddly dog and read a story. It’s a simple activity but provides so much joy for my animal lovers. Makes me feel happy they can enjoy the pets even though we can’t have one because of my blasted allergies :(
Every year I’m trying to get better about being spontaneous and going on little adventures.
I’ve committed to saying yes to random park play dates, checking out new places, and spending more time outside in the fresh air.
One afternoon we went to the nearby State Park for a short exploration. We were there less than 2 hours, but it was really fun! The views were beautiful and the kids really enjoyed the wildlife and the park playground :)
I could have stared at this “postcard perfect” view for hours! I have plans to go back alone for some quiet time and reflection.
The kids had a blast feeding the baby alligator they named “Allie”. (As a disclaimer, I’m not a fan of feeding human food to wildlife, but a kind old woman gave the kids a dinner roll and I didn’t want to squash anyone’s excitement by saying “no”)
My previously timid and squeamish Grace has become so brave about holding little reptiles and amphibians! They named this little frog “hoppy” and were rather smitten with him.
While we are out adventuring, Dr. Gould spends lots of time diligently studying. His classwork ebbs and flows, so we do get a fair amount of free time with him, but there are times he’s swamped and we plan time away from the house for him to study in quiet. I was so impressed with all of his navigation tools and maps. I had to snap a couple pics of him working hard :)
School was back in session on August 10th, but that still felt like summer to us! Avery, Drew, and I ventured over to the zoo with friends one day in August while Grace was at school. I felt bad because Grace loves animals more than anyone I know, BUT we got the lay of the land and will do our best to get back there before we move. It was a small, but beautiful zoo!
Gotta love a zoo train! This one took us on a ride through a bunch of animal exhibits.
My train loving little man was so happy!
Pal-ing around with her Florida BFF. I joke that these pictures are being added to the wedding slideshow ;)
Well hello big guy!
This bird “house” was much like an enclosed butterfly house. We purchased popsicle sticks coated in bird seed and the colorful little birds were drawn to them in swarms!
These videos show a little of the chaos that ensued in the bird house! LOL
These sweet little friends melt my heart!
One of my favorite things about living in Pensacola is the beach time!! White sands and clear blue-green water give the Panhandle its reputation of being the Emerald Coast. It’s gorgeous.
My happy place :)
Drew has been known to fall asleep at the beach because it’s hard for us to tear ourselves away in time for him to go home to take a nap!
In line with being more spontaneous, I signed us up for a Princess Anna story and sing-a-long event at a local bakery. It was a small shop and a bit crowded, but the kids had fun listening to a story and singing along with Anna :)
You’d never know it by the look on Avery’s face! LOL
Delicious Frozen-themed cupcakes at the end!
More beach time!
His missing tooth has become such a part of his little personality!
Smiles all around…well, except Avery! LOL
Our time in Florida may not be long, but we’re determined to enjoy it and the summer got us off to a good start!
Especially once we were out of the hotel and into our rental home! ;)