A truer statement could not be said about Panama City Beach. I was never one to come here as a kid, as my family didn’t really do the whole beach thing. That and when we did it was to Myrtle Beach or some beach near Orlando or something. I’ve always heard PCB referred to as the “Redneck Riviera”, but never really been witness to all it’s splendor. Well, now that I am finally here for the week, I can see why they call it that.
Now, I don’t mean to sound all snobby or took good for PCB, but there’s a certain level of people that I have come to expect from the beach trips I’ve been on. Jess and I have gone to places like Cape San Blas, St. George Island or other lesser known beaches and been privy to not only less people overall, but less… for lack of a better word “trashy” people. Now don’t get me wrong, there are actually a lot of people here that are perfectly normal folk, but there are 2-3 rednecks for every non-redneck at least. The good thing is, it makes for some fantastic people watching! There are all manner of people wandering around it varying amounts of clothing. Fun times all around!
So, with that being said, this place is a lot of fun. BLT HATES the beach so far, but it’s really only his first day. He’s been on a beach in the past but not enough to really enjoy it. I’m not a huge beach person, so he probably gets that from me. He’ll warm up to it eventually. Right now it’s a lot to take in. That and he doesn’t really like being dirty so the onslaught of sand is a lot for him. Chase and Jess are having a blast and doing their thing, so that makes me exceedingly happy. It’s only day 1 of 7 so its going to take some time to really find our daily routine/groove.
This place is sensory overload. Between the beach and pool during the day and the go-karts and put-put and “the strip” at night. Its just a lot to take in. Coming from a more quiet beach like St. George where after being there for 3 days we only saw like 10 people to a place like this is a huge leap. I love the time I get to spend with my family and wouldn’t change a thing. This will always be a trip that I remember and can’t wait to see what the next 6 days bring!
Last time I made a post with the same title, it ended up like this. Let’s just say, that this time around it was a completely different experience.
My friend Gene turned 40 this year and he wanted to do a big throw down in Vegas. I mean, what better place to celebrate getting old, than a city full of young people who have a complete and total disregard for what they do to their bodies! Jess and I were totally game for a weekend filled with crazy entertainment and no kiddos to wake us up in the morning or need a diaper changed or ask how to make a grilled cheese. This was going to be a weekend just for the adults, and after a week on a Disney Cruise, it was well deserved.
Unlike last time, things got started off right. We landed, grabbed our luggage and headed off to the hotel. Since there was such a large group of us staying there (16 total I believe), we all stayed at the same place. We got checked in and were whisked away to our magical room overlooking the strip. Well, you could see the strip from our room, but it wasn’t like The Hangover where you see every conceivable part of Vegas from your room. Everyone else was already out enjoying their day to the tune of some DJ and a few drinks. Jess and I were just enjoying being there, so we decided to hang at the hotel, order some room service and have a meal in peace. No sharing what was on my plate with an 18 month old. I didn’t have to hunt around for a spoon or fork that had been thrown under the table. It was a meal that didn’t consist of chicken nuggets and baby toys. The rest of the group can have their bottles on ice, Jess and I were perfectly fine with our quiet, alone time.
That time however was short lived. The plan was that a few of the group members would go to a Circ du Soleil show, while the rest of us went out to a club of some sort. Seeing as we are not seasoned Vegas travelers, we were up for what ever. As people started stumbling back from their afternoon adventures, it was apparent that they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves at this day club. Somehow the four members that were heading to the show managed to pull themselves together and get out the door in time. I won’t go into full details, but it was a miracle that they made it. And despite making it to the show, all of them slept through about 75% of it. Must’ve been nice to have a $300 nap. Jess and I however got on our party rockin’ attire and were off to begin a night of adventure unlike anything we had ever experienced.
Keep in mind, Vegas is time is a) 3 hours behind Atlanta and b) non-existent. By the time we were out the door to dinner it was already 8/8:30ish. That meant that it felt like 11:30 to us, and we had been up since 6am in ATL. We typically go to bed at this time, but we’re in Vegas and had to push through. Dinner was nice and consisted of some tapas and wine. We met up with some new friends, and enjoyed the calm before the storm. After dinner we walked over Marquee. It was everything like you’ve seen in the movies or TV shows or the pics on the site you just looked at. People crammed into every corner of the building, loud pumping music, black lights, drinks flowing, glow sticks, etc. This place had it all!
A good friend of mine is a regular out in Vegas and so we had a host. Having a host means the difference between waiting an hour in line to possibly get in, and having them let down the velvet ropes to guide you past the droves of people out front. It also means that we had a private table stocked with liquor and mixers. This was our table, we didn’t have to wait at the bar for over priced drinks, we didn’t have to figure out if we should have another. It was all there waiting on us!
We decided to indulge and enjoy what had been provided to us. We also made a point to get to the dance floor for some dancing and laughing, generally letting loose. The DJ of the night was Benny Benassi (Benny Benassi – Cinema – Skrillex Remix), so I was all over it cause I loves me some Dub Step! This went on for the next several hours. At one point the largest bottle of champagne I had ever seen showed up to our table as well as more drinks. Sure, why not?! We’re in Vegas!! A few more hours went by and we decided that it was time to roll out.
It was a bit difficult locating a cab for some reason. I’m not sure if it was the fact that it was 3am and we had been up for 24 hours while also having had enjoyed several drinks and hours of dub step, or what. Either way, in Vegas everything looks a lot closer than it actually is and we made the decision to walk to our hotel. This ended up being roughly 2 miles… at 3am… intoxicated… and Jess was barefoot. By the time we got in bed it was at least 4am. Hashtag. Winning.
The next day we were woken up by some calls/texts asking if we wanted to join the birthday boy for breakfast. This was at 9. In case you are doing the math, that’s 5 hours of “sleep” after a 24+ hour sprint. But we were game! We threw ourselves together enough to wander down to the restaurant and enjoy the company of a couple who as slept through most of their Circ du Soleil, so they were feeling nice and rested! After breakfast we headed back to the room to get on our bathing suits so we could enjoy a day “relaxing” by the pool. Relaxing has a different meaning out there. Rather than a simple day snoozing, it was a day filled with spiked lemonade, meeting even more new friends, gabbing about work and the events of last night. Talking about our children, our families and friends. Swimming in a pool filled with bros. And maybe one or two applications of some SPF 12 just to let the sun know that we meant business… not.
The pool was only the beginning of the activities of the day however. By now it was day two and this was supposed to be the BIG party night. We had, yet another, VIP experience getting into a different club. This time it was Light. Zedd (Zedd – Clarity) was on stage and man was the club hoppin! Again, more bottles, more mixers, more music, dancing, glow sticks, people, tight shirts, and fun! We had more of our crew with us on the second night so it got a bit more rambunctious. But never too much. Just enough to remind us how much of an amazing time we were having. Eventually we made the decision to roll out, this time however we were going to find a cab, one way or the other. But what we wanted more than a cab, was some food. Pizza to be more precise. Surprisingly enough we found Secret Pizza, and I have to admit it was a pretty tasty slice. Then again, it was 4am and we had not eaten in hours, so that may have had something to do with it.
After scarfing down our pie, we found another cab and rolled out to our final destination, the hotel. 5am was a painful sight to see on the clock, but the bed was a welcome sight. To the best of our knowledge we didn’t have anything planned for the next day so we were going to finally enjoy some sleeping in. HA! I got jokes.
Texts started coming in around 9 again and off we were to brunch. Do these people ever sleep?! Food was had and good-byes were said as half the group was flying back that morning. Jess and I were still here for the rest of the day and didn’t have to be on a plane until the following morning. This day we did get our relaxing time by the pool. No shots, shots, shot, shots! No bruhs, creepin’ up ons, no thumping house music in the background. Just a few people, laying by the pool enjoying their last full day in Vegas. We reflected on what all had gone down in the previous 48 hours. Again, talked about kids, work, school, home life, all manner of things that normal adults with kids talk about. It was a good, chill day.
Our final night we headed down to Fremont Street so we could see the light show, have a nice dinner, and people watch. This evening was not like the previous two nights. We simply enjoyed the company of good friends, had some amazing food, and wandered around looking at all the sights “Old Vegas” had to offer. Eventually, we headed back to our room and got into bed at a decent time… midnight.
The next morning we got up bright and early and headed off to the airport. Our crazy adventurous weekend had come to a close. Soon we would be back living the life of “normalcy”. We would be looking at kids menus to see what our boys would have for dinner. I’d be wiping up poop. Work would be had rather than just talked about and things would settle back into place. We had our crazy time. We got it out of our system and we were back to the things that were really important to us. Vegas was a temporary fun, but my boys laughing and playing at home is permanent. We were home and happy.
I’ll never forget that weekend. I hope one day we can go back and do it all over again, but if we don’t, I’m perfectly content with living the life just that once.
Here’s some pics that hopefully help reiterate the craziness of that weekend.
It all started like, back in November 2012 or something. Jess and I both decided that we wanted to take our family on a Disney Cruise! Yes, you read that right… a Disney Cruise! Well, to some it might not seem that extravagant, but to us it was an astronimical adventure. We did our research (minimaly) and within no time, the thing was booked. The actual cruise wouldn’t happen until the first of June 2013, but with this sort of thing, you gotta plan in advance.
2011 started off like any other year, with a wicked ice storm that pretty much shut down the whole state of Georgia. We made the best of it and actually had a really great time. We wouldn’t get that kind of ice/snow again for the rest of the year. I’m actually hoping that we get one again, only this time we’ll have a lil’ baby with us.
February brought us Gracie. A Great Dane that would put us to the test.
Neither one of us had ever owned such a beast. She was one of the sweetest and happy dogs ever, but damn was she a handful. After many ‘discussions’ we finally decided to find another home for her. Luckily I was able to find a nice lady that lived on a farm, a real one night the typical ‘dog farm’. Off to a better home Gracie went and I’m sure she is much happier now.
March ushered in some Spring little league for Chase. He really got into the ‘swing’ of things and enjoyed himself.
Honestly it was a lot of fun. We got to meet some new people and Chase had a lot of fun. I don’t think the Mudcat’s won that many games, but it didn’t really matter to him, he just wanted to play.
I don’t think much happened in April. Well… I mean Chase did get to go a Wrestlemania Art show, meet a bunch of wrestlers and then go to the actual PPV. Oh, and there was Tax Day. Hmm… something else happened… Oh that’s right, WE GOT MARRIED!!!! It was a wonderfully magic wedding. Everything we had hope for. I got to finally call the love of my life my bride, and it was the beginning of our forever. The honeymoon was in Vegas, and well… and we know good and well what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay in Vegas. In addition to finding out we were pregnant (but really what could top that) we spent the May kinda floating around in happiness and bliss.
Every summer we like to take a family vacation, and a pregnancy this year wasn’t going to slow us down. For the 2011 Summer Vacation we decided it would be a lot of fun to head to Disney! We loaded up the car and drove down to the most magical place on earth. Chase had never been and neither Jess nor I had been in SEVERAL years so it worked out perfectly. It wasn’t easy for Jess with the heat and the walking plus being pregnant, but we made it. It was a great vacation and a birthday I don’t think Chase will ever forget.
The rest of the summer went on by, carrying with the ups and downs of being pregnant. We found out we were having a boy and man, that made me excited. I was the last male Turner and to be able to continue the name, meant a lot to me.
As August rolled around we started getting read to go back to school, and doing just normal family things. Chase was doing great and really getting into the spirit of being an older brother. He was helping around the house and he just felt a little more grown up. October would creep upon us before we knew it and in addition to me getting a new car and turning 32 it started to really sink in that I was going to be a daddy, very soon.
Between Halloween and right now it’s all kind of a blur. It’s as if time sped up and didn’t really wait. We had our first, and second baby shower and started getting the nursery ready. Baby clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, bottles, all of it started coming in and every time we would get something new it would sink in just a bit more how soon this bundle of joy would be here. Lane’s nursery looked fantastic and in no time at all everything was in its right place and we could start getting ready for the holidays.
Our Christmas tree was up BEFORE Thanksgiving, and the house was all set and ready to go. We made our rounds to friends and family. Did the gift exchanges and then it was Christmas day at the Turner household. I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday season. My wife was glowing with that baby glow, Chase was happy and doing all the big brother things and I was doing everything I can to make the house and my wife ready for this baby.
In contrast to the rest of the year, this past week has been filled with lots of taking it slow. Everything we could possibly do to be prepared for Lane, we have done. The bags are packed, the car seat is in, clothes washed and put away, house is secure, etc. You name it, we’ve done it. Now all we need is for Lane to come home.
It’s been such a wonderful year. I’m sure I left things out, but it’s all good. They say that the first year of marriage is the toughest thing you’ll go through other than the 9 months your wife is pregnant. Well, I’ve done both at the same time and I’m more in love now than the day I got married and I don’t see signs of this ever stopping.
Thanks for all the memories 2011, but it’s time for 2012!
Originally I had planned on writing a post about every day for our Disney vacation, but rather than draw it out, I’ll just write a quick re-cap: It was more amazing and magical than I could ever imagine.
One of the things that really hit me while at Disney was the fact that I had managed to take my family on a week long vacation to Disney (and surrounding theme parks). We all have a dream and visions of the future and what we would like to do with our lives. We also have visions of the past. Things we look back on that make us smile or cry or wonder how in the world we got where we are today. For me it is thoughts of my parents doing what ever they could to make us kids happy. Whether it was my mom never pausing to take a moment for herself or my dad and his in-ability to let someone be in need of something. I always wanted a family of my own. A wife, son/daughter (both) that I could take on trips and share Christmas morning with and do all the things that father’s are supposed to do. Well, this vacation gave me another piece of that magic puzzle
We were sitting at dinner and I was watching Chase and Jess eat there overly priced, underly flavored meal and it hit me. I made it. I did what I wanted to do and I had managed to save up the money, get a job that allowed me the time off, planned and followed through on a big summer vacation. You see families do it all the time but you never think, or maybe you do, that it’ll be you there. Those pics of dad’s and their families in front of the castle or sitting on the beach. Those old home movies of us laughing or just walking around, I now had some of my own. This trip was my moment.
So that’s that. I’m still working on sorting out the photos and editing the video, but the memories are there. I am one step closer to being the father I never even knew I could be. I love my family. My beautiful wife is carrying MY child. Our son is growing smarter and more like the both of us every day. It’s a fantastic time in my life and I can’t wait to look back on right now with my grand kids and tell them that one day they will be taking their kids on some magical vacation that will change everything.
Day 3 was the beach day, and the day Jess was looking forward to the most. She and Chase just can’t get enough of the sun and water and all the things that come with the ocean. I love the smell of the air and the breeze and just the happiness that comes with being at the beach. Since we were so close to Cocoa Beach (only about an hour) we decided to make a day of it.
The day got started with a quick lunch and some shopping for flip-flops for Chase. After that we headed on out to the Ron Jon Surf Shop. This place was huge and we loaded up with chairs and toys and all kinds of things to occupy our time in the sun and sand. Eventually we mad our way across the street to the beach and set up shop. It wasn’t too crowded and the water was perfect. Chase could hardly get his shirt off fast enough. He had the itch to get in the water. I felt the same way.
We spent the day going from the shade of our umbrella to the sand to build castles to the water for some boogie board action. We buried Chase in the sand at one point, just as the tide was coming in. Luckily he muscled his way out of that. The waves were a bit rough, but it worked out to our advantage. We were smart enough to bring a cooler with drinks and snacks so we didn’t have to worry about losing out spot.
Eventually we were all burned and ready for some real food, so we got cleaned up at the local shower and then headed off for some seafood at a local restaurant that was supposed to be the best around. Well, who ever said that about the place was spot on. It was some of the best seafood I’ve had in a while. So we sat and ate and reflected on the day. It was an awesome was to end our day at the beach.
The ride back to the hotel was quick and Chase was out 5 mins into it. I love me some beach and I love my family. This was the perfect day and virtually the beginning of the rest of an awesome week.
Day 2 of our week long vacation began with me gatting up extra early to go check out some timeshare deal at the resort we are staying at. We, much to my surprise I had my days mixed up and the buffet and presentation wasn’t actually until the next day (Sunday). Oh well, at least I was up and ready for Universal Studios!
I got back to the room and woke the family up so we could start getting ready for our first full day of fun. Jess was smart enough to get some food to cook from Publix so I made bacon and eggs and toast! Such a money saver that was. After breakfast we all got ready and hit the road. Luckily the hotel/resort is only like 15 mins from everything, so that worked out well.
Being a Saturday I expected the park to be super crowded…I was wrong. The park was virtually empty and we didnt have to wait more than 15 mins to get on anything. Chase and I rode the coasters and Jess joined us on the rides that weren’t as intense. I know she wanted to ride all the rides badly, but we we not gonna take any chances with the baby.
After several hours of walking around it was time to head back to our room. We recounted our favorite rides, for Chase it was the Rip Rockit Rollercoaster and Men In Black, for Jess and i it was MIB and the Disaster movie show (which Jess and I got to be part of)! Our dogs were barking and it was time for some food and some “night time action”.
The pool was cool and refreshing, especially after a long day of walking. It was nice to just be able to just relax and not have to walk. The first day ouf our week long adventure had come to a close and it was a doozy. Day 3 is the beach and I know we’re all juiced up for that!
Oh, I’ll be putting photos in once I get them all sorted out.