Beaching

Before getting into today’s post I want to pause for a second and remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.  It’s because of their selfless service and willingness to give all that we get to celebrate a long weekend and be FREE.  Say a prayer for the fallen and their families today!

 

When I found out early in this rotation that I would be off for four days due to the holiday I immediately suggested to Chris that we get out of town for a night.  It worked out because my sister Heather and her husband were going to be in Jacksonville for the weekend and it was a prime opportunity to see them.  So we loaded up the car and headed south!  Friday night Heather and Mark met us at our hotel and we all went to Maggiano’s for dinner and go sufficiently stuffed on calamari, pastas, and of course dessert.  Perfect pre-beach food, no?  Saturday morning we headed to Heather’s friend’s beach house for a fun day in the sun.

 

Beach

 

This was Bryn’s first trip to the beach and she absolutely LOVED it!  Em is a water baby at heart and had a blast also.  It was so much fun spending time with my sister and her friends.  I haven’t seen some of them since Heather got married 19 years ago and I was 8!

 

Girls Beach

Emmie Beach

 

Bryn Beach

 

One of the hardest parts of being a military wife is being so far from family.  Seeing the girls with their aunt and uncle this weekend reaffirmed my goal of getting us home within the next few years.  They thrived being surrounded by so many people who love them and I can see many family beach trips with my nephews and niece in the future too.

 

Family Beach

Auntie Heather

 

In the meantime I am just thankful that we got to make these precious memories together as a family!  And to many more beach days ahead of us this summer.  Got to soak up the proximity to the ocean while we still can!

 

How was your weekend?  Do anything fun?

 

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Jacksonville Zoo

Yesterday we wrapped up our quick trip to Jacksonville with a trip to the Jacksonville Zoo.  We loaded up the car and got to the zoo right as it opened at 9AM.  I have learned over the years that the absolute best zoo experiences come first thing in the morning.  We may or may not have been the first family in line 😉  Emmalyne is at an age now where she gets things and I love watching her enjoy new experiences.

JAX Zoo 1

 

The Jacksonville Zoo is organized by different trails relating to animals from different parts of the world.  There is the Asia Loop, Australian Loop, Florida Loop, etc.  By getting there nice and early the animals were all out and seemed to be in great moods.  One of our favorites of the day was this giraffe.  Her name was Naomi and we definitely ended up buying Em a stuffed giraffe that she promptly named Naomi as we were leaving.

JAX Zoo Animals

 

We got the tickets that included all the additional attractions the zoo offers.  This included butterfly hollow (which was kind of like Butterfly Wonderland but not quite as cool), Stingray Bay, the 4D movie, and the train.  Emmalyne could hardly contain herself as we were waiting for the “choo-choo”!

JAX Zoo Train

 

We spent most of the morning hot on Em’s heels as she ran from one adventure to the next.  I wish I could bottle up toddler energy and sell it for profit because it’s insane.

 

JAX Zoo 2

 

 

Luckily for all of us Bryn was willing to come along for the ride.  She is such as relaxed and easy baby.  Bryn loved just chilling in the Ergo or smiling at all the other people.  Bonus points for me?  I figured out how to nurse her in the Ergo so we didn’t even have to stop for snacks 😉  She also took some good naps while we were there and I enjoyed the snuggles.

 

JAX Zoo 3

 

The last activity we did at the zoo was let Emmalyne have at it in the splash pad.  We didn’t bring her swim suit so we improvised 😉

JAX Zoo 4

 

 

It was an absolutely beautiful day to be at the zoo and I was full of joy watching the wonder and excitement in Em’s eyes.  We ended what was the perfect morning with a little treat before getting in the car for the drive home.

 

JAX Zoo 5

 

 

Em’s eyes were shut and she was asleep before we were even out of the parking lot.  You know she had fun 😉

 

Our fun is continuing through the weekend.  Chris and I are doing a mud run tomorrow and his brother gets in town tomorrow night.  I am going to soak up my last 3 days off before jumping back in to 10 weeks of chaos.  Have a happy Friday!

 

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Jacksonville – Day 1

Hello from Jacksonville!  We woke up yesterday morning, loaded up the car, and hit the road singing songs from Frozen all the way 😉  We got down to Jacksonville around 11AM and headed straight to Chris heaven …. Chipotle.

 

chipotle

 

After a quick lunch it was time to do some SHOPPING.  As I mentioned yesterday, my MacBook mouse trackpad has had a mind of its own for the last few weeks.  It’s given be tons of anxiety since I NEED my computer not only for everything that is PA school but also for the little bit of work I still do freelancing.  The closest Apple store to us is in Jacksonville so I was anxiously waiting for this trip to get it fixed.  In addition to that, apparently I killed my iPhone battery with over-use.  OOPS.  So Apple made a pretty penny off of me yesterday between buying a new trackpad, installing it, and upgrading my phone.

 

I drowned my sorrows at one of MY happy places …. Lululemon.

Lululemon Jacksonville

 

We stayed the night at the Residence Inn by Marriott by Jacksonville Town Center and I have nothing but good things to say about our room and stay.  First, we had a one bedroom suite so the bedroom was separate from the living area.  This is a key feature for us to be able to put the girls down and still stay up past 7PM.  The room was really nice and had a full kitchen.

 

JAX Marriott

 

Source

 

Since Emmalyne missed her nap this afternoon Chris and I decided to just pick up dinner and eat at the hotel room.  After chowing down I headed to the hotel gym for a quick workout.  Again, I was really impressed.  There were a couple treadmills, and elliptical, a bike, dumbbells, bench, and medicine balls.  The nice touches were fresh towels on all the machines, cold filtered water, and complimentary headphones.

 

JAX Marriott Gym

 

Probably one of the nicest surprise features?  They do FREE dinner with FREE wine and beer!  WINNING.  I definitely could go for a nice cold beer after a fun day of shopping 😉

 

JAX Marriott Beer

 

This morning we are heading straight to the Jacksonville Zoo before making the trek home.  Have a great day :)

 

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–> Just in case you were wondering, I wasn’t compensated by Marriott in any way.  Chris and I are just HUGE fans of the Marriott chain.  Our room in Jacksonville was free due to Marriott reward points and we will definitely be staying at Residence Inn again.