Because “Nothing says, ‘Christmas,’ like the beach.”

We spent five fun-filled  days in Gulf Shores, AL.

Lots of shells on the beach

Karl’s parents, his siblings and their families, and all 6 of us shared a crowded house, but, since most of the people are small and adorable, we made it work. I’m not kidding…my four nephs are too cute! Besides, you can make anything work when you love each other!

Plus laughter. Laughter is a cure-all.  I really wish that I written down all my favorite events of each day right after they happened because now I can’t remember them.

Things I do remember:
1. One of Karl’s favorite things is making me happy. He went out of his way to do so at least twice. First, we took the scenic route. I’d rather travel on back highways and roads than an interstate. I love seeing the ranches and homes that line Alabama’s highways. Once we got down to Mobile, we could see various bodies of water, pelicans, cranes and gulls. Second, on our way to the grocery store Monday evening, he stopped so I could get out and watch the sun set.

2. Our visit to Fort Morgan. My SIL and I were beside ourselves trying to make sure our children didn’t fall off a wall or staircase. It was nerve-wracking. I started laughing to myself about it, though, after the 20th, “WALK, DON’T RUN!” “STOP!” and “[INSERT CHILD’S NAME]!”

Kids entering Fort Morgan

3. Fort Morgan plays host to ginormous mosquitoes that are attracted to dark colors.  Those of our crew who were wearing black coats were swarmed by the biggest, most engorged mosquitoes any of us had ever seen.  It was pretty much the grossest thing ever.

Interior yard of Fort Morgan
Sand Island Lighthouse, seen from Fort Morgan

(I just noticed that there is a big smudge on my camera lens.)

4. Putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle with my BIL, #1 Neph, and Benjamin as fast as I’ve ever put together a huge puzzle. We finished the most important parts of the puzzle. We skipped putting together the gray sky — about 200 pieces in various shades of gray. After all, we were on vacation.

5. Sitting around, enjoying the most important people in my life.  We talked, played games, and watched Christmas movies.  I tried to avoid the news, with the exception of the Senate health care vote.

6. All 4 kids LOVING our trip to the naval air museum.  The kids look so small perched on a 30,000 lb., 15 ft. tall anchor from an air craft carrier.

Pensacola Naval Air Museum

7. Sitting on the beach at night, looking at the stars, and wondering how long it would take for my toes to freeze.  Noah and Hannah saw a shooting star.  I read this quote from G.K. Chesterton on the DG blog and liked it: “A cosmos, one day being rebuked by a pessimist replied, “How can you who revile me consent to speak by my machinery? Permit me to reduce you to nothingness and then we will discuss the matter.” Moral. You should not look a gift universe in the mouth.”

8. Having time to read.  I almost finished Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray (I really love books like this one because they stimulate my mind and stir my affections for Jesus for all he’s done for me.) and started Don Quixote (this abridged version by Walter Starkie).  DQ is pretty hilarious.

9. Watching our children and nephews open their gifts.

10. The four families shared cooking duties.  Karl’s mom cooked breakfasts.  We were on our own for lunches.  Dinner was prepared or provided by one of the families.  So, I only had to cook one night.  It was fantastic!

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