The Floridian

The Floridian

Buds and I were so excited. We planned a trip for the children and me to Florida, and we didn’t tell the children. They thought the trip to Atlanta would conclude with Dad flying back to Virginia because he had an important meeting he needed to attend, and we would be driving back…because that’s what we do.

Several people I told about this escapade were sure the children would notice. I suspected they underestimated our children’s ability to disappear into a book. Monkey told me afterward that she had noticed the signs saying, “St. Augustine,” but then before she could ask, she’d be drawn back into what she was reading. Yup, she’s our kid.

As we drove to Matt and April’s through their very Florida-looking sub-division, Yessa said, “Mommy, this reminds me of Disneyworld. Remember when we visited Ms. April when we were down there?”

I cackled in my head.

I told them, “I just have to drop off a package at a client’s house for the business. It will just take a minute.”

When we got to the house, “I’ll just run inside. Why don’t you all get out of your seat belts and stretch your legs a little.”

“No, thanks. We’ll stay in the car.”

“Okay, look,” I said. “Does this place look at all familiar to you? Do you have any idea where we are?”

Completely blank faces.

“Merry Christmas,” I said, as the young ones came streaming out the door. There is no better way to be welcomed to Florida than to be greeted by Naked Sam.

Where are we?!
Let me out of this car!
So happy and so surprised!
Happy hugs and photobombed.
Getting settled in…and seeing our first Christmas tree of the season.
Cutie Patooties.
Playing outside on the warm days.
Learning to use the juicer.
The girls pick out fabric to make doll clothes.
The sweet boys.
Laughter with friends.
More juice making.
April trying to teach me to French Braid.

The weather was so beautiful while we were in Florida that a trip to the beach was in order. All the kids spent at least a little time in the water. The big girls were like fish, and ventured so far out April and I felt compelled to ask them to swim closer to shore because we certainly didn’t want to go in after one of them. Kids don’t mind blue lips, adults…do.

Bravery in numbers.
Okay, maybe not so much.

The sand castle master is back.
The rainbow we saw on the way home from the beach…

The end of the rainbow was at April and Matt’s house.

For another adventure, we took the older kids to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. It was quite a mind-blower in so many ways. Some parts were scary, some parts were just gross, and some parts just made us say, “Huh?” Lots to read and see and wonder about.

Toast Art
My hand compared to world’s tallest man’s hand.
Toothpick construction
Watching one of the old Ripley’s TV shows.
My mom would love to own one of these.

The great pictures you can get when people don’t know you are behind a one-way mirror.

Reading the instructions…

Then Ms. April tells them the truth.
The spinning room
Ha, ha, she’s back for more.
The shadow picture room

Always they find books to read.
Checking out the giant stallion made of car bumpers.
Back to the kitchen table.
April and “The Check Process.”
Photo by Alex.

Then we tried to get a picture where everyone looks at the camera…

Oh, and maybe not yawning…

Losing ground…
We’ll call this a win.
This was easier to capture.

We also had a night of driving around to see the beautiful Christmas lights around St. Augustine, and many evenings of quiet times. We took a trek to the flea market, and overall had another tremendous visit in Florida.

Can’t wait till we visit again.