Welcome to T-Town


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It would have been a shame to leave Florida without a single boat outing, so we penciled one in Thursday morning.

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With all twenty of us aboard, the boat was susceptible to capsizing (something we learned the hard way on a previous vacation!), so we took it out in two shifts. 

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I went with crew #2 which included Jimmy, Laura, Andy, Kirby and my dad.

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We set up shop in Crab Beach and dove into the perfectly chilled water.

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Captain Jimmy, the adventure seeker of the family, struggled to balance on the paddle board,

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so he stuck to swimming like the rest of us.

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On our way back into town, Andy, Kirb and I picked up lunch at Cowgirl Kitchen--a quaint market/café/bakery down the street from our house where they claim the "beach meets West."

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Its kitschy decor and casual vibe made for an idyllic setting for a late afternoon sandwich to tide us over 'til dinner.

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After several rounds of "categories" in the pool, I took Cecilia to get a bracelet she had her eye on all week in town. Meanwhile, it was date night for everyone else; needless to say, I mastered the art of 3rd, 5th, 7th and even 9th wheeling on this trip.

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I stayed back and watched the last half of Toy Story 3 (inevitably a tear-jerker which hits home extra hard with the youngest kids being named Andy and Molly) with my nieces and nephews in the media room.

Post bedtime, those of us that stayed back drank wine and ate cheese on the porch (and Pops had his nightly cigar). We greeted the couples one by one as they made it back and as they filed in, I couldn't help but take in the rare occasion of all of us being together.

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The last full day rolled around and us girls came to the conclusion that if the boys can spend an afternoon indulging in one of their favorite activities, golf, so can we.

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{La Crema Tapas + Chocolate bar -- where Spain comes to Rosemary beach}
Our activity of choice was a combination of

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shopping (surprise!) in Rosemary Beach,

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sipping white wine and

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sharing a chocolate molten cake from La Crema--a tapas and chocolate bar.

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On our way back, we house browsed in posh Alys beach, and made a pit stop at the restaurant two of the couples dined at the night before--Caliza.

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The gorgeous homes in Alys prove worthy of the beachfront views they call their backyard. I have a fourth and final installment of my trip recap for BOD, but as for now, I wish you a great shortened week leading up to the 4th!

Plans to Make Her Dance


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As planned, Wednesday morning, we wasted no time and went straight to the beach.

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As a Texan native, turquoise blue water where I can see the color of my nail polish wedged in the sand never fails to come as a shock as the muddy Galveston waters give beaches a bad rep.

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The kids boogie boarded; the adults drank beer, and everyone basked in the sun.

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Jimmy proved worthy of his title as Uncle Jungle Gym/Jim.

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My mom was kind enough to offer delivery service of the famous gourmet grilled cheeses from The Meltdown on 30A--a food trailer in town.

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We shared two varieties: the brie + bacon on cranberry walnut bread

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and the goat cheese, proscuitto, arugula and tomato.

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We unwound back at the house before our sunset dinner at Bud & Alley's--a revered gathering place for local patrons seeking a waterfront dining experience. 

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We celebrated Emily's 1st and 

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Lindsay's 33rd birthday as well as a belated 37th for Amy, which fell just the week before our vaca.

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Seafood hit the spot for supper as we ordered crab cakes, 

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yellowfin tuna, 

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and lobster tacos. 

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Pink cupcakes were served for Miss Emily, who blew out her first candle

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and made her first wish.

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Though the boys weren't pleased pink was the only option, they got over that fairly quickly.

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There was a concert in town, so we stayed put until the sun went down and the kids' bedtimes neared.

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The Modglins joined the post office photo-op bandwagon I mentioned in my last post. 

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I'm getting to spend more time with my closest sister, something we rarely get time for despite the fact we both call Austin home. 

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Ceci, my partner-in-crime, and I went to Dawson's for some soft serve ice cream--a beachside staple. 

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Finally, before I forget--and because we can't say it enough--we're all thankful to these two sandwiching me for making the family in this family vacation. Whether we call you mom, dad, Mimi or Pops, you are loved by many. Today will be a family Friday and our last full day in Florida; wishing you a great weekend from the beach! 

Beach Babes


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Seaside epitomizes everything people crave about summertime: scorching sunshine, white picket fences lining the sandy beaches, whicker baskets propped in front of all the pastel bicycles cruising the sidewalks and sno-cones as a standard snack.

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Upon my arrival into the Panama City airport, I was saddened to find out I missed one of chef Jimmy's gourmet meals of roasted grouper (the local favorite fish around these parts) with a brown butter lemon sauce, wild mushroom risotto and toasted pine nut pancetta and shallot roasted brussels sprouts.

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I made it in town just in time to finish the remains of his second meal: yellow curry brown sugar slow-roasted pulled pork with a rainbow pepper medley jalapeno lime cilantro slaw. For all the sauce lovers out there, it came alongside a North Carolina vinegar sauce and a Tennessee white horseradish sauce. Finally, there were poblano smoked gouda grits.

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My first full day here we did a little bit of everything, starting with a game of Cecilia pool, a variety of the classic game in which my 9-year-old niece makes her own special rules and Sam and I follow.

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We spent the rest of the morning in the pool, as many folk were still recovering from the sunburns they had built over the first few days.

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The boys scattered for a round of golf at the Jack Nicklaus course nearby, so the girls seized the opportunity to go shop in the town.

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I was here several years ago with friends and the town has maintained the same charm--with the food trailers framing the post office which has become a local landmark and popular spot for a photo opp for vacationers like us.

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The outdoor stall shops make for a shopping experience unlike any mundane trip to the mall.

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Each stall is color coordinated, making the clothing all the more aesthetically pleasing and tempting to buy.

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As the ideal family vacation spot, kid stores are a plenty.

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But, it was the famous Frostbites snow cones more than any toy shop that bribed the little ones into coming into town with us.

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Throughout the year, I'm always in and out of town, barely squeezing in a visit with my little nieces and nephews. It's been a treat to all be under one roof in just the small amount of time I've been here so far.

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They've put my former gymnast to good use as a pool handstand judge. Today, we'll spend a full day at the beach and then celebrate Lindsey's birthday at dinner in the town.

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Just like we celebrated baby Emily's 1st yesterday. Happy birthday to you both!