Florida Trip, July 2017
We just got back from a wonderful week in Florida! On our way to Grandma & Grandpa’s house we stopped by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter the Dolphin! The kids have watched Dolphin Tale countless times and were thrilled to see where it all took place! After we finished in Clearwater, we headed to Grandma & Grandpa’s house. The kids were SO EXCITED to meet their cousins! Uncle Dan and Aunt Andrea have Mallory (who is 10 months old) and Uncle Erik and Aunt Cheryl have Tristan (who is 7 weeks old). It was such an incredible experience to witness my brothers being fathers. It’s kind of weird to see your baby brothers holding babies of their own!
On our first full day at Grandma & Grandpa’s we went to the beach! This is the beach my mom took us to as children, and it’s a perfect place for the kids to safely explore the Gulf. When the tide is low there are sandbars that go on for ages, filled with shallow little places for the kids to splash and play. After the beach we spent the afternoon at Grandma’s, playing with Mallory, swinging on the back porch, and riding bikes with Grandpa!
On Tuesday morning we went to the splash pad, and Amelia biked with Mark and Grandpa all the way! It was a four mile ride along some main roads – my big girl was so brave! On Wednesday we had a lovely visit from a family friend, and while Mark and I went out to lunch with Daniel and Andrea, Grandma and Grandpa played at the water table with all of the kids. On Wednesday evening we did a photoshoot at the beach with all of the grandkids, courtesy of Andrea’s sister-in-law! We got some adorable pictures of all the grandkids, and also a few of just our kiddos! Daniel took a picture of the five of us looking out towards the water. It’s such a treasured memory of a wonderful evening!
On Thursday we went to a local children’s museum, which was a lot of fun for everyone! In the afternoon we visited some of Grandma & Grandpa’s friends who kindly offered us the use of their pool. That evening we had our whole family over for supper at Grandma & Grandpa’s – what a blessing to have a house filled with so much love!
On our last day we headed back to the beach, but it started raining on our way there. We parked and waited a few minutes while the rain slowed. Confident it would soon pass, we unloaded beach chairs, towels, sand toys, and Grandma’s huge beach umbrella and headed out to set up on the sand. We were the only ones there in the light drizzle, but still slathered on sunscreen and began wandering the shore and wading in the water. Grandpa was keeping an eye on the wall of rain out over the Gulf, and all of the sudden the wind shifted and everything started coming straight towards shore. Within minutes the rain was pouring down and the wind was gusting. Lightning crashed and thunder roared all around us as we ran to Grandma’s umbrella and huddled together. After a mad dash to the parking lot we got everyone safely sheltered in the vehicles and headed back to Grandma & Grandpa’s. What an adventure! Uncle Dan and Mallory met us there and we all played and snacked and visited on the back porch while the storm passed. Right before lunch we went back to the pool for one last swim, and then home for lunch and packing.
We woke at 3am on Saturday to begin our long drive home. The kids were WONDERFUL on the drive, and we didn’t have to use the DVD player until the last three hours of the trip! This was, I believe, our most enjoyable visit to Florida since Amelia was born. All of the kids are old enough now that they’re fairly self-sufficient (even Eddie!) and they all slept well through the night while we were there. We loved visiting everyone down in Florida and already look forward to the next time we visit!