Day 1, Tuesday December 8th - Get up before the sun, get a ride from Uber to the airport, and fly to Florida. Find our rental house in Naples Florida, Swim in pool, walk on beach.
Day 2, Wednesday December 9th - Wake up and enjoy the amazing outdoor space in the house, wait (and WAIT!) for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive (they had about a 4 hour drive), swim, beach, dinner, more swimming.
Day 3, Thursday December 10th - More swimming in the morning, airboat ride in the Everglades, more swimming, dinner at home and a movie (Inside Out) at night.
Day 4, Friday December 11th - Clean up the house and pack up, one more good swim - Grandma finally got in too! - say goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa, Naples Zoo, Fly home, go pick up Yoshi...
Phew - what a week! It was both tiring and relaxing. And I'm so glad we have a weekend to recover now... and less than 2 weeks till Christmas! I called this Florida Take 1 because right after Christmas the kids, dog, and I head down to my parent's place to see their new house and spend time with them and Aunt Laura - yay! I'm making good use of these last weeks when it is still ok for me to travel. And I'm certainly not complaining about spending some time in Sunny Florida!
This week was really great - the kids played together and happily so much and both LOVED having our "own" pool for a few days. I'm so grateful that my husband is so generous about spending his time off with my parents too. Good times and looking forward to more soon.
We'd never been to Harpers Ferry and Mike thought it would be a good thing to do while his parents visited this past weekend. He was right! It was a beautiful fall day and Harpers Ferry is such a cute, little historical town. We brought Yoshi to wear her out had fun walking around.
Some days are so close to perfection that they must be recorded immediately before you lose your momentum. Today was one of those days - absolutely gorgeous fall weather - warm and sunny but not hot. And Cox Farms has to be the king of all fall festivals around here - it's HUGE. We met our good friends there and spend the whole afternoon sliding, playing, eating, and laughing together. We will all sleep soundly tonight!
I want to record days like this so when I feel like I "never" get the kids outside or the kids spend "all" their time on the computer I can look back and remember - it's not true, we do get out! We are incredibly fortunate to be living this life. I am beyond grateful (is there a word for that??)
I don't think a (human) mama would ever complain about nursing again after watching this mama pig! The patience! And the poor runt - riding the wave of his siblings, trying to get in, and getting climbed on too!
So this slide was one of the favorites for some reason and they did it over and over near the end of our time. They liked the noise their voices made from the ridges and bumps in the slide. Also, there is a long delay at the beginning of the video because Gerry decided it was the right time to take his sneaker off to get something out of it right when it was his turn! Ha. Kids. The line was backing up behind him but all the kids waited very patiently.
I've been meaning to get a video of this handshake Marisol and Sophia made up. It's so great! They did this when they first said hello and again when we parted ways. Gerry was ready to go home after 4 hours... our friends stayed longer. Yoshi was ready for us to come home too! What a great day.
Marisol and I often have our best conversations just before she goes to sleep, lying next to each other in her bed. Tonight we had a great talk about how grateful we are for our lives and all that we have and what more we can do to help those less fortunate than us.
At one point I told her, "I love you, you're so kind." and gave her a kiss.
She looked right at me, with the softest, sweetest eyes and said, "I have a good influence."
Heart melt. These are the moments that make parenthood so worthwhile! What a gift she is to me.
Monday was another great day here in Lake Norman. It started out with a delicious and nutritious breakfast. Mike has planned scrumptious dinners for the week and my parents brought fresh, home grown veggies from their garden so we've been eating like Kings and Queens! So in addition to my usual toast and eggs I had a side of leftover steak and potatoes.
I told my dad the first night that I wanted to do a swim every day - so we started with a Saturday evening swim on the day we arrived. I was huffing and puffing that night, but I made it out to a boat that is quite far into the inlet. And now we've made a habit of doing a late morning swim. It is so great!
Marisol has been loving fishing with Grandpa. (And Gerry has a bit too.) Marisol is now putting the worms on herself, casting like a pro, and she is even taking the fish off the hook too! Mike and I are going to count on her if we are ever in a survival situation, because we are both still a bit squeamish about all of those things - ha! Grandpa brought one of our old small fish tanks so we can look at them a little bit before releasing them back into the lake.
In the afternoon I went with the boys on a NASCAR field trip while Marisol stayed back at the lake house with Grandma for some quality one on one time.
We ended the day with a campfire and s'mores. And I actually played some songs on my guitar as the sunset.
This is the second year in a row we've gone to the Lazy 5 Ranch and it is worth every penny! It really is fun for everyone. You can drive through in your own car or do a wagon ride - which is a little more expensive. We like to drive the car so we can roll up our windows if we want - the wagon seems much more exposed! ha. This year we went on Sunday, our first full day of vacation, and the line was really long to enter the park where the animals are- they do a booming business!
Luckily it moved along pretty quickly, and once we got in it was fine.
We found out why the signs say "Don't feed the Zebras!" They get pretty aggressive with the food! This guy almost grabbed the whole bucket from Grandpa. After that we had "Zebra warning!" alerts and quickly rolled up the windows. The people in front of us were in the back of a truck with no back window so they didn't have that option!
Grandpa decided finally to feed an Ostrich. Both grandchildren were warning him not to - "Those are aggressive!" Well - you can see what happened in the video below:
The bison were a FAVORITE for everyone because of their method of asking for and receiving food. They would open their mouths wide and back and stick their tongues out - usually to the side and curled. They "waggled" them too. Such funny guys! Pictures kind of explain - but video is even better! See Below:
Tuesday was a rainy day. Luckily we had invited some friends over to play, so it turned into an awesome rainy day! One of the best parts was we actually got outside! The kids bounced on the trampoline for a while and got soaking wet. Good times! I convinced Gerry it would be ok to get wet if he wore his swimsuit.
In the evening I got out with Yoshi. This is actually another (of many) things that I really appreciate about Yoshi being in our lives - she HAS to get out. It doesn't matter what the weather is doing, the dog needs exercise as close to "daily" as possible. Yoshi is now "ball obsessed" which is pretty fun and also an easy way to wear her out. So here's a little video of her playing at the soccer field close to our house. Mike had the brilliant idea of kicking the ball up the hill to give her even more of a workout! It's a little blurry (I think due to the rain) and I apologize in advance if the jumpiness makes you feel sick - but you get the idea!
One Million Moments of