Sunday, March 25, 2012

Florida Fun

A few weeks ago Mr Bird bought me a plane ticket and sent me packing to sunny Florida to visit my gorgeous niece Jenilyn and her adorable family.
I brought my Little M&M with me and left all the rest of the Heathens at home.
My sisters were so awesome and watched my kids during the day while Mr Bird was at work.
I can not thank my sisters enough for doing this.
My kids had a BLAST with them and their cousins.
I think my kids were so excited for me to leave because that meant no school at our house for an entire week!
(It actually ended up being 2 weeks by the time Doodle was well enough to get back into the books)
They played entirely too much wii and watched about a billion movies.
Considering how often I turn on movies or the wii (practically never), they thought they had died and gone to heaven.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I walked out of the airport in Florida into 75-80 degree weather in the beginning of March.
I wore short sleeved shirts and sandals every day for a week.
It was so nice to only have one baby to take care of.
I had forgotten what it was like to only have one baby.
I have never gotten the chance to spend so much one on one time with my sweet baby girl.
With four other children and home school and the million other things I do everyday, I literally have to steal moments to snuggle my baby girl and play with her.
Even then, we usually have other kids joining our fun (which I really love).
But it was so nice to just hold her all day long and dote on her.
I have to say, I think she was a little spoiled by the time I came home.
I loved every minute of it all the way down to the bottom of my heart.
She is such a sweet heart of a little girl.
She had an awesome time playing with Jenilyn's kids.
She and baby Carson (who's not really much of a baby anymore) loved each other.
Carson is only 3 weeks younger than Little M&M.
They would hold hands in their strollers as Jeni and I walked side by side.
It was the cutest thing I've ever seen.
Nathaniel (3 years old) thought M&M was a little princess and sleighed many a dragon for her during the week.
He shared his bedroom with us and was so sad when we left.
The best part of the entire trip, you ask?
Going to the beach every single day!
The sunshine was medicine to this tired, tired soul.
I felt like a little girl again playing in the surf and collecting sea shells.
Little M&M LOVED the beach, mostly eating the sand and shells.
She just sat and played right where the waves crashed ashore.
She splashed and laughed and played as long as I would let her, or until she got hungry.
I think she liked the beach almost as much as her mom...almost.
The beach is on the very, very short list of things I miss most about California.
Every time we went to the beach I did not want to leave.
I felt like I could get lost in those moments and stay there for the rest of space and time.
I am so, so sad that I am once again so incredibly far away form the amazing wonder that is the beach.
Jenilyn took us to the most amazing island called Sanibel Island.

From their website:
"What fun to go shelling along the surf and beaches of Sanibel Island, unique in that it lies east and west, different than most islands which lie north and south, this direction allows Sanibel Island to catch abundant sea shells that the Gulf of Mexico brings to its shores. Sanibel Island is world renowned for its shells. People from all over the world come to collect and admire the colorful "Treasures From the Sea."

I would scoop my hands down in the water just below the surf line and pull out handful after handful of beautiful shells.
I came home with 2 big sacks of shells that my children have been fighting over ever since.
Jenilyn literally lives in paradise.
Jenilyn's husband, Jason, is attending law school in Florida and they live in the family housing on campus.
We went for a walk around the campus and park every morning and it looks just like we stepped out into a tropical paradise resort.
The flowers are vibrant, the grass is green and lush and the wildlife is simply stunning.
Our morning walks were another amazing highlight of the trip.
The day before I came home Jenilyn took me to a real live orange grove.
I got to see one of the actual spots where they grow the oranges that feed the world.
You know when you go to the store and buy Florida oranges?
Yup, I was right on the soil from which they spring!
The fresh oranges were to die for.
You can literally taste the Florida sunshine in each and every drippy bite.
My mouth is watering thinking of all that juicy goodness.
Who needs processed and refined sugar when there a treasures like this on earth just waiting for us to enjoy?
It was one of my goals to eat as many oranges as I could get my hands on!
Along with some shopping and walking down the pier and meeting new friends and the beach at sunset, I don't think this trip could have been any better.
I was determined to thoroughly enjoy myself and not to miss my family the entire vacation.
I almost made it!
But alas, the last few days I really wanted to see my kids and be home and kiss their naughty little faces.
The flight home was sheer torture.
The space and time between me and my kids (especially Doodle) was just too much to bear.
The world seemed to be turning at a snails pace.
Thanks to Jenilyn and Jason and Mama Lisa and Jordana, M&M and I had a fabulous vacation, but it is oh, so good to be home... right where I belong!

P.S. Anyone want to see a gazillion vacation photos that you are not even in?

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Emma said...

Loved the pictures! you all had such cute cover-ups at the beach! I need to find one that cute! So glad you had fun! Maybe I need a vacation like that!

Karen Peterson said...

It sounds like such a wonderful trip. I've never been to Florida, but would really like to go.

And the beach is one of the top 3 reasons I probably won't leave California again for a very long time.

Virginia said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures! What a fabulous time and what great memories you have. I'm also glad you are back!