We used to do it annually, until we had four kids and traveling to Florida to see my parents became too costly and too difficult.
In fact, it has been 4 years since we last visited my home town.
I still have nightmares about that last attempt, the moment in the airport when Adam was getting frisked by a stranger while I was holding two wiggling 8 months old, one in each arm, and Ben decided clothing was optional.
A lot can change in four years, right?
This year we realized that the older kid’s winter break was so long that they actually started to hit into the cheaper fares. After January 4th, prices go way down.
Two weeks ago we flew to the land of beaches and sun. The area where almost all of my support group lives within driving distance of each other.
Instead of sitting indoors hiding from the cold, battling crowded museums, or visiting “pay to play” spaces, we enjoyed fun in the sun.
We spent a day at the beach. (So did everyone else.)
Burying ourselves was one of the activities.
See Ben in the background burying himself while the others bury each other? Results…
Grandpa taught them all to body surf.
Many days were spent at the pools. Lots of pools. The heated hotel pool with it’s warm jacuzzi meant even when the temperature dropped we could still enjoy splashing about.
First night in, we hit the pool right away. Playing in the pool late at night reminded me fondly of my own childhood.
Another day Adam went cycling with my father while I entertained the kids at the hotel pool.
Ben showing off his floating skills…
My father’s heated pool in his communities complex was another great option.
Here the older boys are trying, unsuccessfully to get Adam off the giant pizza float.
Even the non heated pools at my father’s and mother’s house were fair game.
My childhood pool, weird to watch my own kids swim in it!
We also visited Gumbo Limbo, a nature center full of aquatic life. We watched them feeding the marine life. We saw the turtles they saved and were rehabbing.
We took a walk at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands nature walk, full of birds and alligators. Yes, ALLIGATORS!
See the alligator on the island?
And checked out Boca’s Science Explorium.
And the carousel next door.
Both my mother and father were there at our beck and call, doting on the children and lending a hand whenever they could.
Seeing my kids spend time with them and get to know them, watching both parents play and laugh with them, filled my heart to the brim.
That would have been enough for me, but not my generous parents. We were treated to food everywhere.
The hotel had a full buffet free breakfast for us. Most of the kids took advantage of the variety by eating nothing but Fruit Loops everyday.
Lunch at mom’s house.
With Tony and Nenoy.
Dinner Dad’s house.
Auntie Doris bought the boys gifts that night.
My parents threw gifts cards for dinner at Adam and I while simultaneously offering free babysitting services.
Thanks to them and my Aunt Doris, Adam and I were able to work out, go running AND eat at both La Nouvelle Mason and Abe and Louie’s.
Besides all THAT food, we also enjoyed a Brazillian buffet that mom suggest, a trip to Olive Garden, and a picnic of my much missed publix deli sandwiches.
Mom see the kids for the first time at the Brazilian Buffet.
Olive Garden kids menu stickers.
Beach picnic with Publix sandwiches
And room service, everyone’s favorite!
Rainbow out our window while we eat room service.
In fact, just being in a hotel room instead of our house was a great source of joy for all.
We got a visit in with Uncle David too. He entertained them tirelessly and they left bearing all sorts of flea market finds from him. Jack described Uncle David’s house as one of the best parts of his trip.
David greets the boys as ‘snake man’.
The last night the older boys slept at my father’s house. In the morning we packed up the stuff and came up with an elaborate plan on how we would get the stuff in the car. Then we looked around and realized we only had two kids, and we didn’t need elaborate plans, two kids was completely stress free!
We came back relaxed and depressed about getting back to regular schedule. I’m missing Florida already!