In my 28 years of living and 24(ish?) years of living as a sort of "student", up until this year I'd never experienced a spring break vacation. Between work schedules, being overly pregnant with Em, and Kyle's heavy school loads these past few years, spring break always felt more as a week to catch up on to-do's and chores instead of a chance to escape real life for a week and explore. Now that we're FINALLY on the downhill with Kyle's schooling, we felt like this was the year that we needed to get out and have the Spring Break that we've always talked about. We didn't really have anywhere specific that we wanted to visit, but both thought that it would be fun to go somewhere that we'd never been before, and because Kentucky has been really late with any actual Spring type of weather, we wanted to go somewhere warm. The week of Kyle's break also happened to be the exact same week that the entire east coast got hit with a HUGE cold snap/winter weather, so we looked at a map, booked an Airbnb, and drove literally as far south as we could until we couldn't anymore, finding ourselves in Mobile, Alabama!
If I'm being honest, Alabama had never really been on our radar for places to visit, but after making the trip we were so glad that we decided to take a chance on it! An old friend of mine that had lived there for a few years was able to give us a ton of great suggestions as to what to see and do, and we found once we were there that we were able to find activities that fit all of our different interests and see some really neat things! To satisfy Kyle's enthusiasm for U.S. history we went to see the USS Alabama. For those like me that need a quick lesson as to why this is a good place to visit, the USS Alabama is a gigantic battleship that was used in WWII, and is one of Mobile's biggest spots for tourists. We had the chance to actually go onto and inside of the ship, and it was absolutely crazy to walk around the ship and see how the soldiers lived while on it! Inside of the ship they even had a few of the United States flags that were on the ship during some of the influential battles, and it was a humbling experience to see and experience something that was such a big part of our nations (and the world's) history.
In an effort to soak up as much of a Spring feel as possible from our trip, we also made a stop at the Bellingrath Gardens & Home. These gardens basically consisted of over 65 acres and about a 2 mile walk through constant gorgeous greenery and flowers. They had a rose garden, a conservatory, a bayou boardwalk, Asian-American gardens, and tons of gorgeous fountains and other breathtaking landscaping throughout the entire walk. Kyle and I agreed that the entire walk really just felt good for the soul, and Emery had a blast running throughout the trail looking at and trying to touch alllllll of the "fow-ers". 😉
While in Mobile, we knew that we were going to be close to the ocean, but what we didn't realize was that the ocean we were closest to happened to be one of the MOST gorgeous perfect beaches and oceans that we'd ever seen before in our lives. We spent an entire day in Pensacola, Florida on the beach (it was only about an hour drive from our bnb) with some dental school friends that were also spring breaking down south and now I'm convinced that Florida beaches will be somewhere that we regularly take our family to vacation. The beach was nowhere near to being crowded so there was plenty of space for Em and her friends to run around and play, the water was blue and not too cold, the sand was white and sooo soft, and there was a perfect breeze all day that kept us from getting too hot, and made all of our clothes from that day smell like the ocean. There was also a darling little boardwalk filled with seafood restaurants that we stopped to eat at, and even though I can't personally speak to the seafood, everyone that tried it definitely approved! Kyle and I also realized that by visiting this specific area, we've now seen/been in all of the great bodies of water surrounding the states (Atlantic, Pacific, Great Lakes, and the Gulf) so that was a neat thing to experience as well!
This was our first family vacation with Emery as a fully mobile toddler (in South Carolina she'd barely learned how to walk a week before we'd gone) and I knew that she'd want to walk EVERYWHERE that we went, so before we left I did something that I swore I'd never do as a parent and bought her a little toddler backpack with a safety strap in the front and a leash in the back. Seriously the best. decision. EVER. With the exception of the beach Emery had that backpack on her everywhere that we went, and it gave me such a huge peace of mind knowing that she could walk and feel free to explore but would also always be literally within my reach. She also loved having her own backpack like "mommy's", and would carry her water bottle and snacks in it while we were out and about, clearing up a little more space in my diaper bag for other things. If there was one learning experience from this trip, it was to never judge an item until I've actually had a chance to use it, because that backpack is now one of my favorite baby items that we own and will definitely be joining us on future zoo days, trips, and flights!
(side note: this isn't sponsored and I paid for the backpack with my own money, but I had quite a few ask which specific backpack we got for Em so you could get one for your little - her's is the Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid & Toddler Safety Harness Backpack in Otis Owl. For the sake of free one-day shipping I got Em's off of Amazon, but Target & SkipHop carry them online as well)
This trip was SUCH a hard one to come home after, partially because we came home to several inches of snow (which literally never happens in Kentucky, especially in March 🙄) but also because it was such a great opportunity for the three of us to escape all the craziness of dental school life and just focus solely on each other. From watching Emery explore, talking with Kyle during the car rides, eating too much ice cream, seeing new sights and everything in between, I found myself going to bed each night just feeling so much gratitude and love for Kyle and Emery and the memories that we were making together. Visiting new places is always enjoyable, but doing it with my two favorite people makes for the greatest of adventures.
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.