As I have eluded to here on this ol’ blog, last month, Ben and I (and Ellie) went to Florida last month on a little vacation. And sweet mercy was it ever just what we needed.
Every since I headed back to work in December, we had been tossing the idea around of taking a vacation, just to help us ease back into the world of chaos in which we were now living. We knew we wanted to go somewhere warm, and had decided to possibly go with some people for a few reasons: 1) Because things are just more fun when you’re with people you love, and 2) Let’s be honest, if we didn’t go with other people, we would have been pretty stuck with Ellie heading to bed at 7 each night and needing naps each day. Really, it just would have meant that we would have been doing our normal, everyday parenting routine, except we would have paid lots of money to do it somewhere different.
So, we asked around to a few different people, but understandably so, it’s difficult to line up schedules, budgets, etc with all people involved, so nothing seemed to be lining up! We had at one point asked Ben’s parents to join us, but at first, we didn’t think they’d come. But then, one morning, after my dreams of a warm-weather getaway had all but been squelched, they called, saying they’d love to join us! (along with his sister, Sara.)
And FLORIDA2013 was born. (Ok, so I JUST made up that title, and I’m pretty sure we never said that once the whole time we were down there, but it sounds catchy no?)
We got SUUUUUPER cheap flights out of Buffalo (like, of the $90 variety), which kind of sealed the deal for us. (We live about an hour away from there), and the planning was underway!
Let’s fast forward to the ACTUAL vacation now, shall we? (because I’m thinking that as riveting as it was, booking a rental van on priceline, I probably don’t need to give you EVERY detail)
We had SUCH a great time. We rented a vacation home in the Orlando area, and I’m convinced that this is the way to do a vacation! It was so spacious, (6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms), had great living space, and (of course) a pool. We saved lots of money being able to cook our own food, and it was really nice to have a home to be in. (Plus, splitting the cost amongst 5 adults makes it pretty affordable!)
This holiday ended up being the perfect mix of “doing” and “being”. We spent some days, literally just waking up, eating a leisurely breakfast, and then parking ourselves in the recliner chairs by the pool with our books. Other days, we did things; visited an Orange Grove, took in a Spring Training Baseball game, and drove to a beach a few hours away and spent the day there. See? The perfect mix. Throw in some great meals, games galore, books, walks, and great talks, and you have FLORIDA2013. (I should really put that on a t-shirt, or something).
To sum this trip up for you, I thought I’d make a list of the highlights:
- The Orange Grove. This was definitely a high-light. Mostly because it felt like the most authentic-Florida-like-thing-to-do, so we felt like legit tourists doing it. But it was just really fun. And actually, this one point, as a few highlights that deserve their own sub-points:
- Joshua, one of the employees who seemed to take a liking to our group. He was pretty talkative at the beginning, as he sent us on our way to pick a bag of citrus fruits, and we thought that was the last of him. Except he just kept showing up, finding us in the grove on his ATV, talking to us more and more, telling us his life story. It was certainly entertaining.
- The time when Ben kept taste testing the oranges as we picked them, even though there was a sign RIGHT AT THE FRONT OF THE GROVE saying “PLease don’t taste test”. (He’s a rule breaker, and I’m a rule follower….can you guess which one of us is more fun??) And then when he had a huge mouthful of juicy orange, I saw our new friend Josh re-approaching, so I told Ben to quickly hide the evidence, causing him to throw the remainder of the orange on the ground and chew extremely fast what was in his mouth. I’m pretty sure the juice oozing out if his mouth was a dead giveaway, but I doubt Josh cared.
- Taking in a baseball game – I’m not really an MLB fan or follower too much, but it’s just kind of a cool thing to do!
- The fact that this was literally what my mornings looked like each day.
- Sleeping in while Ben’s parents took the morning shift with Ellie.
- Napping in the afternoon while Ben’s parents took the afternoon shift with Ellie.
- Going out at night on dates with Ben while his parents took the night shift with Ellie. (I’m joking, we did actual parent our own child…some of the time…)
- BEACH DAY. I LOVE sitting on a beach soaking in the sun, and although it was windy, and a little bit chilly, it was still a perfect day of just being on a beach.
- Watching Ellie get to know her grandparents and auntie more. Because they live in Nova Scotia, they don’t get to see us on a regular basis, and it was just so great watching Ellie and them hang out. She loved playing with them (and them with her), and she learned lots of fun things! It was really special watching them bond!
- Just being with my little family (and extended family). It was such a treat to spend every moment with Ben and Ellie in a restful environment.
I’d make a list of low-lights, but there really weren’t many. We did have a few cold days, which made some of our outings a little less enjoyable, but still, I was in sandals and no winter coat, so I really couldn’t complain.
So, there you have it: FLORIDA2013 recapped. I’ll let you all know when I have the bumper stickers ready for purchase.
And purely for your enjoyment – here is an assortment of other pictures from the trip: