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Wednesday, May 16, 2007
FARMStrong Family Vacation Update

It's time to break the FARMStrong fast and give the extended FARMStrong Fam a vacation update. It's day 6 already of our second annual trip to Navarre Beach, Florida, beach home of Maxie and Jerry Dunnam (a.k.a. Grandy and Pop).

A few highlights that will seem like deja vu to some of the faithful out there.

One of the big themes since November is how many more 4 children are then 3. Samuel (17 months) is quite the little beach monster. The beach can be many things to many people. For many, it's a relaxing, restful place to read a book and bask in the sun. For others it's an Edenic paradise. But when you have four kids and one of them is a 17 month old beach monster, the beach is nothing less than a total HAZARD! How many books do you think we've read this week??? exactly-- 0. Magazines = 0. Naps on the beach = 0. Sam has revealed our limits in every conceivable way and yet how did we ever live without him. You crazy parents out there know what I'm talking about. Yes for some the beach is a paradise getaway-- for the FARMStrong Fam it's been survival week-- a perpetual 911. We just hope to make it home with everyone!

Anyone out there remember the Nascar Boogie Board? Yes-- it lived to see another SURFIN SAFARI. Our beach days begin about 6am with cartoons. (our kids never do change time zones). After a couple of episodes of Sponge Bob Square Pants and a dozen Krispy Kreme do-nuts, it's off to the beach. Yes-- that's 7:30am. . . . . . and already. . . . . . . I'm on a surfin safari. Cold doesn't begin to describe the water temperature. About 8,000 waves later it's 8am and time to build sand castles. By 8:30, Sam has almost drowned in the surf three times and drank a gallon of salt water. Today we actually got off to an 8am start in the POOL. Thank God it's about 3 degrees warmer than the gulf. Anyhow it's pool. . . . beach. . . . surfin safari. . . . . sandcastles. . . . . beach tennis. . . . . . . more surfin safari. . . . . . .shelling. . . . . . .crab hunting . . . more surfin safari. . . . . . . . . reapply 80 proof sunscreen. . . . . . . . and getting sunscreen on four kids is like greasing pigs.

We visited the treasured GULFARIUM again this year. Only this time, we enjoyed the coveted opportunity to SWIM WITH THE DOLPHINS!!! Yes, our Tiffani started working one year ago to the day to get us in on the dolphin swim. It was really amazing as you can see from the pictures. Tiffani, Maxie, David and I all went into the pool for the dolphin fest. Her name was Kiwi. But the most amazing thing about the GULFARIUM is. . . . . you guessed it. . . . . . the GULFARIUM GIFT SHOP. Our kids breezed through the entire exhibit in no time in order to get back to the GULFARIUM GIFT SHOP to purchase a GULFARIUM GIFT SHOP TRINKET with their hard earned savings. Mary Kathryn and Lilly got yet another of what they call SQUISHYS. It's one of these little fluid filled fishes that allows you to squeeze its guts around in your hands. The great sadness of this morning's beach activities is one of Mary Kathryn's new little beach friends (more on that in a minute) threw Mary Kathryn's GULFARIUM GIFT SHOP SQUISHY TRINKET into the Gulf!!! Dads from four umbrellas over rushed to our campsite and we fanned out and searched the gulf to no avail for the sorry little toy. Looks like we'll be making a late afternoon run to the GULFARIUM GIFT SHOP for a replacement SQUISHY.

Speaking of beach friends-- I was formally forbidden from using FARMStrong CAM to capture images of any Baywatch types. But our Tiff has been true to form. She's up to about fourteen new family beach friends. She meets the kids, the parents, the pets, learns the life histories, faith stories, allergies, parenting tips, and I could go on. Our kids have established a nice little community on the beach which will be hard to leave. I almost got a chance to read a little bit of a book this morning. . . . . . but. . . . . Sam decided it would be fun to throw multiple hand-fulls of sand in my eyes. So much for that.

Some other time ask me to tell you the story of the Abu Ghraib SoftShell Crab Prison. And yes-- Tiffani has become a virtual pro at evacuating poop from swimsuits. This year she's mostly done it in the gulf rather than on the beach like last time-- which is quite a hazard for those beach friends who happen to be enjoying the surf a few umbrellas down. uuuuuuuugggggggghhhhhhh!!!!! Picture a nice happy beach family bent over searching for shells in the surf when all of a sudden POOOOOOP!!!!! not fun for them. Tiff has failed to note the delicate beach family friend eco-system.

Just now we are having our 30 minutes of mandatory quiet time before we make the afternoon SURFIN SAFARI beach run. For some reason Grandy got the great idea of giving our kids an electric pencil sharpener and from the sounds of it they are sharpening more than pencils already. ;-)

One more day tomorrow and then back on the road for the TWELVE HOUR drive back to Kentucky.
posted by John David Walt | at 5/16/2007 03:05:00 PM



Blogger Ray Hughes said...

JD - good to hear that you were in our neck of the woods again. We are a couple hours east of you. I can relate perfectly to your description of the beach monster. Chase is 21 months and we go to the beach about every week and there is no relaxation at all!

Give the family hugs from the Hughes clan.

BTW: We are headed to Foundry in June, so I will see you at Annual Conf I guess. I am staying with the Hensons that week.

8:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Morgan said...

Aww, I live less than an hour from Navarre. Sorry it's raining today! Otherwise, the weather has been great for a family vacation, and I'm definitely hoping the rest is safe, fun, and restful.

10:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Oh, how I miss the Gulf!!! Chicago is dipping into the 40s tonight and I miss my hometown of Pensacola. You guys look like a farmstrong family of fun-o-rama!!

10:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous chad said...

I grew up hitting the gulfarium every summer...

Your struggle reminds me of a conversation with my buddy Eric Crisp.

"Yeah when we had the third kid we had to change our defensive strategy"

"You mean you had to hire a nanny or something"

"No the wife and I had to switch from man to zone"

Great to see you are having a good time JD. See you next week.

11:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous Amy Taylor said...

JD- My favorite time of year! The Walt family vacation. Can I come with you? It always sounds so fun and exciting! I'd like to learn the one-handed poop trick! But, in our family it would be Gregg pooping in the water!

Keep an eye on little Sam! WE love you!

12:11 AM EDT  
Blogger eli said...

I'm tired just from reading it.

1:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous john page said...

Yea - The Farmstrong Walt family vacation blog! Whew! I have a question...in the picture of Tiffani and the dolphin - who is that dark-haired man right behind her with the GRAY in his hair??
Say it ain't so, JD?

10:05 AM EDT  
Blogger + Alan said...

Man, I've always told people that 1 or 2 kids is almost the same - you still have them one to one at least, don't have to buy any special vehicles, etc. Add the 3rd and you've entered the land of being outnumbered. A whole new world. Then we have number 4 (the point at which, most of the time, you start getting "the looks") - this is another whole new world. And on the beach, Lord have mercy and Angels protect my children! "Where's Conor!?" CON!! CON!!! - At the Lifeguard station having been carried there by the Lifeguard after having been viciously attacked by a crab claw under the pier! ha!! Memories. And the Lifeguard looked nothing like Pamela Anderson either - oh well. Peace to you and the family.

1:27 PM EDT  
Blogger The LeRoys said...

First you write songs with Chris Tomlin...then you swim with dolphins with Maxie Dunnam! Who are you, man?

11:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD ~ The Okies are crackin' up picturing ya'll on the beach w/4 kiddos. Miss your wit and your charm. ~the Broadbents

11:26 PM EDT  
Blogger Allen said...

Yeah this totally made me lose all desire to ever swim in the ocean again. flyfish

11:07 PM EDT  

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