The Return to My Happy Place

This is the best maternity leave ever.  My mom designed this master plan where she flew to Chicago help me with the babies through the holidays, then we all flew to Florida so we could stay with my parents for the month of January.  So while my friends and family in Chiberia are freezing in sub-zero temps, the kids and I are in Florida soaking in the sun.

Today was warm enough to go to the beach so we went to Anna Maria Island.  I’ve posted about this place before because it’s my Happy Place.  The first time we went there, I was newly married and pregnant with Arielle.  The next time we went, Arielle and Zavier were with us.  Now for the third time around, we were here with sweet baby Alyssa.

A&Z were hesitant about getting dirty, but quickly got over it when they discovered the seashells at their feet.

IMG_5503We ate lunch at Sandbar Restaurant, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.  The food there was delicious and the people there were friendly.  Don’t my parents look like Alyssa’s mommy and daddy?  The fellow patrons at the restaurant seemed to think so and they couldn’t believe that they were actually the grandparents.

SandbarAfter lunch, we spent the rest of the day playing on the beach.  The kids loved it.  It was a little too cold to go swimming, but they had a blast chasing the waves and playing in the sand.  Little did they know that they traded white snow for white sand.  Instead of building snowmen, they built sand castles.

IMG_5511 IMG_5532 IMG_5540It was a good day for seashell hunting, but I was too consumed with basking in the kids’ delight.  Sorry for my unattractive feet and finger-toes.  I just had to get this shot to remind myself that this is January and snow boots were not required here.


My parents were consumed with the baby.  Alyssa was as happy as could be just beach bummin’ underneath the big umbrella.


We just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful weather, the water, and the fresh air.  It was a lovely day, proving once again that Anna Maria Island is still my happy place.

IMG_5530 IMG_5558


P.S.  I took these photos with my handy-dandy iPhone.


  1. congratulations and I agree what a great maternity leave…beautiful photos! What a wonderful way to enjoy your family.

    Happy Mommy Monday Blog Hop

  2. That looks just like a dream!! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful moments with us :-) Enjoy the rest of your trip!
    Anne Marie recently posted…My Favorite SmoothieMy Profile

  3. Oh how I love seeing those lovely photos in the sun! Congrats on your sweet Alyssa, what a doll. Yes, your parents totally look like they are the parents too!
    Raquel recently posted…Goal Setting Planner TemplateMy Profile

  4. BEST MATERNITY LEAVE EVER!!!!! Seriously, you’re parents are awesome, annnnnd they look so young. I’m SO happy you’re with your family, nothing beats family. Everyone back in Chiberia HAS to be jealous :)
    All the pictures from the past year on my blog have been from my hand dandy iPhone. 😀
    Wishing you more rest and relaxation.
    Mrs.AOK recently posted…Mommy Monday #BlogHop {81}My Profile

    • Im not even posting pics on my personal fb because everyone is gonna be peanut butter and jealous! Im loving every bit of family time and baby time and warm weather!!!

      • Ha HA!! I love that I’m totally jacking it “peanut butter and jealous”. I know exactly what you’re talking about, I remember sending pictures of us at the beach last December, I could feel the heavy sigh of annoyance on the other end of the phone. Enjoy your family time, mama!
        Mrs. AOK recently posted…Mommy Monday #BlogHop {81}My Profile

  5. I miss the beach!! Love your photos. And yeah, before I even read your statement about your mom. I had to ask myself “is that her mom?” because she looks so young!!! And your dad too! Well, I can definitely remember when you wrote about how cold it was at this time of the year last year and so I’m very happy you did get some sunshine in Florida. I guess it’s best for the newborn too? :)

    • We left just before the snow and subzero temps hit so timing couldnt have been better. I had to pull the kids out of school but they are exploring outdoors and learning so much here. The baby loves it too :)

  6. haha.. yes. Your parents look so young! Is your mom younger than 34 because I think she looks better than me!
    Well we’re headed to Florida in 9 days, but who’s counting? This looks like the best maternity leave in existence!
    Tamara recently posted…Grief As Big As An Ocean.My Profile

    • Shes 50 (shh dont tell her i said her age). Shes really active and said that shes in the best shape of her life and that the key to the fountain of youth is lots of water and naps!
      florida is wonderful!! Im seriously considering moving here…

  7. Ah so blissful! This makes me miss Florida. Been ages since the last time I was there. PS: I second what Tamara said your mom looks so young you two can be sisters 😀
    Maureen recently posted…Things You Should Never Ask a Single MomMy Profile

  8. Your trip looks absolutely blissful. It looks like a lot of fun and relaxation was had. Also, your photos are stunning! I can’t believe they were taken with your phone!! 😀
    shelly recently posted…Relaxation IN Anxiety OUTMy Profile

    • Thanks, Shelly! We are having an amazing time here and just spent another day at the beach! Just trying to soak in as many rays as we can before heading back to the cold, dreary midwest :)

  9. What a wonderful mini break! Esp post-pregnancy, every little bit helps! That place looks really beautiful – I’ve never been there so will keep it in mind next time I go to Florida. Enjoy the rest of your maternity leave and have a great one Gracielle! Happy Hump Day -Iva
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  10. It is FREEZING in New England. I’d love to be in your happy place too!

    Your parents look super young! I’m glad you are spending time with them this winter!
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted…Project Sweet LifeMy Profile

  11. This does look like the best maternity leave! That’s so awesome that you get to be there with your family. And your parents really do look like they could be the baby’s parents. (By the way, she is so adorable!) Enjoy your time down there :-)
    Bev recently posted…Friday Finds: The cooking editionMy Profile

  12. your parents look so young. they don’t age!
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  1. […] started last week off at my Happy Place, Anna Maria Island.  Then, a few days later we went to the beach at Fort DeSoto Park.  The beach […]

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