Sunday, July 24, 2011


We spent a week in Florida this summer.  It was our first big family vacation that wasn't tied to a church convention so we got to plan the entire trip ourselves.  So much fun!

I came home with 716 photos on my camera.  Since I want you to continue to be my friend, I won't blog them all.  You're welcome :)  Here are just a few shots that weren't your run of the mill Disney/Florida beach pics.

I've said before I'm a coastal girl misplaced in the Midwest.  This trip was confirmation.  My kids have the coastal bug now too.

Everything in Florida is just so happy...
Even the trees are fun and make me smile...
We met some new friends...
(This is my Aunt Jan and her friend, Sonia.  Sonia is this fun and feisty Brazillian firecracker.  Our family fell in love with her and would have been happy to spend the entire week with her.  She has an amazing story of God's protection and redemption in her life.  She lives in a condo right on the beach in Tampa and shared her beautiful private beach with us.  Abi may have officially adopted her as her Brazillian grandmother.)

And we caught up with a long time friend...
(We enjoyed dinner at Sloppy Joe's, an open air restaurant/bar on the beach in the Keys.  Stacey and I have aged a little but we look just as good in this pic as we did in our senior pics we had taken together.  I love this chickey chick!)

We met a shady character at the aquarium who may have forgotten to wipe his mouth after lunch...

We spent a day at Universal Studios.  It may not have been Abi's favorite day but she waited patiently while the rest of our family rode the Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster.  Eli may or may not have experienced cardiac arrest while we were waiting in line to ride this very intimidating ride.
(That's my sweet Aunt Jan waiting with her.)

The princesses of Magic Kingdom had the pleasure of meeting my sweet Abi.  Other than the beach, these may be my favorite memories from the trip.  Just Abi and I using our fast passes to go straight in to meet the princesses.  It was like having the VIP pass of a lifetime.  (I have well over 100 photos from our time with the princesses.  Aren't you glad I'm only sharing a few?!)
(disclaimer - this was at the end of our day at Magic Kingdom.  It drizzled on us off and on most of the afternoon.  I really did have make-up and a good hair day when we arrived at the castle in the morning.  This sweet princess may have been intimidated by my morning beauty anyway - bwahahaha!)

Absolutely, positively, without a doubt the most special and favorite part of our trip was our time at the beach.  We went to four different private beaches in Tampa.  We enjoyed early mornings and sunsets.  We collected sea shells and watched dolphins feed.  We played in the waves and soaked up the sun.  My kids will tell you they loved the ocean even more than Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios.  I have hundreds and hundres of shots from the beach.  Here are just a couple of highlights.
(My girls are watching the dolphins feed.  I love the love between these girls in this photo and the anticipation and excitement of watching the dolphins.)
A little foot shower after the beach. We had so much fun with this. Our feet were just so, so, so happy in Florida.

Although the sunsets are beautiful in Kansas, there is nothing that compares with the sunsets on the beach.  Absolute grandeur! 
I would be most happy if I could spend every evening the rest of my life on the beach.  So relaxing.


Amy said...

Looks like such a great time! And you've inspired our family to want to go. Maybe we should start looking into the big beach houses?? :)

Margo said...

So jealous - I LOVE the beach - can't wait to get back to one myself! Looks like you had a great time!

Anonymous said...

We can't wait to go again!!
And you look beautiful. :)


Anonymous said...

Your pix and description reminded me once again how glad I am to have had you guys here to share Florida with. I have never seen such nice weather in June as we had.
Your Aunt Jan

Dad said...

That sounds like a GREAT time. What a load of fun. The beach is a fun place to be.

Jennifer said...

We also love FL and the beach. Why does it ALWAYS rain when you go to Disney. I don't think I have ever gone where it didn't rain at least one day. Next year you should try Destin, FL that is our favorite - especially if you like just hanging out at the beach. Very family friendly. Check out my blog end of Sept 2010 for pictures or maybe they are at the beginning of October. Fun fun memories for your family