Recap of early July

We had a great trip to the beach and made it back safely. We got to spend some time with my sister, who has been there all summer with Summer Beach Project. She's been working as a lifeguard at Shipwreck Island waterpark and staying very busy with all sorts of projects, bible studies, etc. The "hotel" they are staying in (ok, it's actually a motor inn!) is quite cramped, so she stayed two nights with us. I would be scrambling for a night away too, if I was staying in a room with 5 other girls! Anyway, we visited with Laura, spent an afternoon with a friend of Jeremy's and his family, relaxed and read by the pool, and ate a ton of excellent food. Successful vacation! I have to say that Panama City has changed a lot since the last time I was there (May 2002). For so long, Panama City has had the party place reputation, and the last time I was there it certainly lived up to that reputation. However, it seems that they are making a conscious effort to return to a more family-friendly atmosphere, and it seems to be working. The majority of the lower-end strip motels have been turned into condos, and most places seem to require a minimum age of 25 to check in. The "strip," while still packed and slow-moving nearly all the time, was not full of drunk teenagers hanging out of car windows or riding in the back of trucks. I am sure there is more of that going on during Spring Break and senior trip time, but overall, we found PCB very laid-back and family-friendly. The new dining and shopping locale, Pier Park, was very nice and we went there at some point almost every day. It's similar to Bridge Street in Huntsville, but a little bigger. The only drawback was that most of the shops closed at 9. We tend to eat dinner pretty late on vacation, so a couple of nights we were left without many options for entertainment after dinner. We did venture over to Apalachicola on Saturday, where we spent the afternoon exploring and taking pictures. There is a very old cemetery right in downtown, and it was interesting to walk around and take in the history contained there. My favorite part was reading the inscriptions on the markers...kind of morbid, I know, but it's fascinating. Some of them dated back to before the Civil War. You can't find that just anywhere! Here are a few pictures from our trip:

Dinner at The Backporch with my sister and a friend of hers.

View of the beach from our balcony, with a storm coming in.

Spending the afternoon by the pool with Laura.
The week we got back from the beach was the week of the 4th of July, so I had a very short week. Jeremy worked on the 4th, so my mom, my aunt, and my cousin came to Huntsville. We did some bargain-shopping (Big Lots!) and had dinner. That evening, I learned just how much the people in my neighborhood love this holiday. Several people in our neighborhood shot fireworks, and I have to say, it was just as good as any professional show I've seen! I can't imagine the money they spent on fireworks, but I sat in the backyard and enjoyed them for two full hours. Chloe (our Eskimo Spitz) loved it because I was letting her run around the yard and bark her little heart out at them, but Petey Grace (my black-eyed shelter dog) was absolutely terrified of the fireworks. She refused to come outside after they started, and she sat at the backdoor the whole time so she could keep her eyes on us. The one time I coaxed (okay, pushed) her out the door, she jumped up in my lap in the lawn chair. Have I mentioned that she is not a small dog? She's about 30 pounds and very long-legged, so the image of her trying to curl up on my lap in the lawn chair she would barely fit in alone was quite comical. Apparently some of the neighborhood kids had leftovers from the 4th, because all weekend they shot small fireworks periodically. Poor Petey Grace was scared to go outside for days, but I think she's finally gotten over it.
So that's what has been going on in our lives lately. Nothing too exciting, just enjoying the summer as much as we can around our work schedules. We did have a pool party for the youth group on Sunday afternoon, which was a lot of fun, but tiring. The weather had been iffy all morning, but it held off for two hours, just for us! Literally...it was cloudy just before we got there, and it was raining less than thirty minutes after we left. God knew we needed that fellowship, I guess!

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