Our family has a beach cottage in the panhandle of Florida. This is owned by my Nana (who I’m named after), and we have spent years and years enjoying time on the sugary sand beaches of North Florida. My Nana’s family bought this cottage when she was a girl! It’s the most perfect vacation spot ever! Quiet and serene—but within driving distance of restaurants, grocery stores, shopping stores (not chain stores, but rather quaint “downtown” kind of stores that are perfect for meandering in & out of in the summertime).
I took my best friends here for Spring break in 2008. In 2009, my older brother and his wife honeymooned here, and in the fall of that year, Aaron & I honeymooned there as well. I learned to walk there since I didn’t like the feeling of sand on my knees as I crawled. Lots of precious memories happened in this cottage. Our fair share of family reunions, and quiet single family gatherings as well. Little has changed in the cottage overall throughout the years. There’s still no TV set, no air conditioning, but it’s quite perfect that way. To wake up to the sound of waves lapping the shore, to go to sleep listening to tree frogs on the pine trees outside… just glorious.
We took the boys here twice last summer. This summer we’re not able to get down there for obvious reasons (hello, 31 week pregnant belly). We’re highly looking forward to traveling that way next Memorial Day for another (even bigger!) family reunion. It will have been ten years since we had a family reunion and lots has changed. I’m hoping we’ll be able to sneak back down to “The Beach” (as we call it) over Labor Day next year, just as a family of five. There’s something about the beach that just refreshes our souls and makes us remember things are going to be okay.
A few times when travelling that way as a child, my parents would stop at my mom’s great uncle’s house. He had a big pond, and we’d fish for catfish there. If we caught one, my older brother and I would fight over who got to name their fish “Old General” (Touched by an Angel reference). We’d then come inside my great-great-uncle’s house and he’d fix us bowls of vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s syrup poured on top. I thought this was the BEST THING EVER! My brothers and I would stir our ice cream and syrup together and call our creations “chocolate soup” or “Chocolate Alaska.” We’d then either continue our journey home or to the beach. Once my great-great-uncle passed away, his daughter and her husband renovated most of the house (leaving some original areas), and it’s absolutely beautiful. The land surrounding the house is such the epitome of “country life.” Large grassy pastures, old barns from the dairy farm, ponds, etc. Just perfect.
These things when I think about them, just create so many wonderful summertime memories. I’m hoping to give my own children opportunities to make memories like this while they are growing up. As I watch my children progress in age, and realizing that my oldest two are very much no longer babies, I am constantly thinking of ways I can cherish more moments with them! Beach trips with vanilla ice cream might just be the ticket.
Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba