Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Florida, Part I

Over the winter, Nana moved out of the home she'd been in for 40 years and into a smaller (beautiful!) apartment.  That reason, coupled with the growing number of people in our group that meets down there every year, was cause for some changes to the way we've done Florida in the past.

For a long time it was just the four siblings plus me and Jared, but in the past eight years we've added spouses and children and our numbers have (blessedly) multiplied.  This year we had 16.  Nana and Grandpa John, Shaun's dad and his wife, Shaun's two brothers and their families and the six of us.  We missed Shaun's sister and her family who stayed home with their brand-new baby.

We left our house at 7 PM on Friday.  Shaun drove through the night while we all slept and then I did the 4-8 AM shift.  I have no idea how Shaun does those long hours at night...there is no amount of caffeine that would help me at 1 AM.  He's pretty amazing.

It works out well though.  The kids sleep all night, watch a movie or two and nap during the day and then we're there!  We only made brief, necessary stops, except for lunch at Chick-fil-A with a playscape and the kids never complained.  Also, we strategically placed the primary provoker in the third row by herself and there was much peace throughout the car!

The first time we stopped in the morning there were palm trees and warm air...both so very welcome! 

 We went directly to Nana's new digs and got hugs and the grand tour.
 Aiden was so happy to see Grandpa.
 Amanda and Auntie Laryssa worked hard during dinner.
 It took us a bit to figure out where/how to check into our condo, so while Shaun was investigating, I took four antsy, anxious kids to the water to dip our toes in.  In no time, their clothes were soaked....of course!

 Once we located our condo and bathing suits, the kids called Uncle Nathan, who was staying at a hotel a couple doors down.  As always, he came ready to play.
 View from our balcony.
 The next morning we hit the pool first thing, before the sun got too intense.
 Per tradition, Nana and Dad made a delicious blueberry pancake breakfast.  Nana had to bring over a few things, but the kitchen was surprisingly well-equipped.
 Breakfast with an ocean breeze...gotta love it!

 Then the kids got to work playing....

 Nana is the crossword puzzle master.

 When we got back from dinner, it struck me funny to look up at our building to see where we were obviously staying.  In fact, no one on the entire stretch of the beach had any belongings hanging off the balcony.  Several days in, a passerby let us know we were not allowed to hang things.  Oops!

 More fun, although this time not too much in the sun, since everyone's shoulders were a little pink from the day before.  Fortunately, we had lots of shade provided by the pier next to our condo.


 In the heat of the day we let the kids take a Frozen break.
 Special dinner at The Melting Pot...yum!
 Sunrise.  Wow, God...amazing!

 How many people have great-grandparents who will throw on bathing suits and go swimming in the pool/ocean?  My kids don't know any different so they cannot understand how blessed they are!

 This boy rarely stops chatting....his mind is always working.

 Two beautiful SILs.
 Micah cooked up some scrumptious steaks for dinner.
 Then while the rest of the gang walked to get ice cream, Shaun and I walked down the beach for sunset and meaningful (uninterrupted) conversation.  Happy sigh.


Melody said...

So fun and so beautiful!

The Bug said...

I love so much about this post! Mike & I are going to a beach next week, but it's in Delaware, so I don't expect to actually be really warm - ha!

LOVE R's sand sculptures - so creative & fun for the kids.

sara said...

this post just made me smile all the way through it! And I loved the picture of you and Shaun...don't get too many of those! :)

Amy said...

WOW!!! Amazing pictures!!! I have several favorites. These will be such treasured memories! Great job capturing it all. I felt like I was there!