Thursday, October 9, 2014

Beach Bombshell


We took an easy route today and rented a golf cart to cruise the island. It was a BEAUTIFUL day!

All week long, everywhere we've been, people have looked at us like we have two heads for having so many kids. We've heard the range of "how many kids of you have in there?!", "woah, you've got your hands full", "you're taking the Bible's be fruitful and multiply seriously!", "are you done?", "going for one more?" and several "what a blessing!" and "what a lovely family!". (those are the ones that make my heart smile) because thats exactly what my "large" family is --- a huge blessing!

Our vacations aren't quite as relaxing as they used to be. We spend more money on food, treats, and fun activities. We break up more arguments and hear more bickering that we care to. And spend less time napping on the couch and more time keeping our kids in their rooms during nap time. BUT every single minute is worth it with these babes. I'll take all those things (and a 7 hour flight delay!) to spend a week doing nothing - and everything - with my precious family! Over and over again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Our To-Do List.

Decorate your own donuts - then devour. Check. 

Provide comedy for the local islanders while pedaling down the street. Check. 

Watch local fisherman bring in their catch of the day. Check. 

Snooze in the shade. Check. 

Swim. A lot. (Lillianne was swimming the length of the pool!) Check. 

Have a good time with your siblings (for the most part.) Check. 

Laugh. Smile. Giggle. And Grin. Check. 

Looks like a successful day to me! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Livin' on Island Time.

We're getting used to this island livin'. I could literally sit in the sun all day long =) 

This morning we hit a local dive for breakfast then did a little exploring on the island. We stopped at Bean Point for some shell searching and wading in the water. The beach was practically empty and very wide - plenty of room to play. We spent the rest of the morning poolside while Georgia enjoyed resting in the shade on our back patio. 

After lunch and naps (and 2 hours of uninterupted time by the pool for Momma), we hit another local joint for dinner (Jose's Cuban Food - featured on Diners, Drive-In's and Dives), then finished the night with a round of putt-putt. 

Tomorrow looks to be more of the same...I'll take it! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Our Day On The Island

We're exhausted after a busy day on the Island!

With cooler temps this morning we decided that today would be a good one to visit the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum in Sarasota. It was so neat! The Ringling's had a beautiful vacation home on the Bay and over the years additions have been made to their property - including several museums that house the history, restorations and replications of their "Big Top" circus! One large portion of the museum housed a miniature reproduction of a circus scene --- it was massive! One man started hand making these small figurines at the age of 14 and continues to add to this masterpiece on a weekly basis. He is now 78 years old and there are over 47,000 items on display! It was impressive!! We ran into someone visiting the museum who remembered as a small child going to a Ringling Circus under the Big Top. He said the whole town shut down for everyone to attend.

Another part of the museum housed restored train cars, ticket stations and clothing/act items. And another section was more interactive - a replica high wire that kids could walk on, a clown car, a clown makeup demonstration.

After walking around the property, the kids played at the park on their property near these really cool trees that had ariel roots - they were so cool!

After lunch and naps we headed to the beach! The day was beautiful - bright sun, clear blue skies and perfect sunset! The kids enjoyed playing in the water and collecting seashells. And I enjoyed watching them smile and laugh =)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The LONG Journey To Paradise!

I am SO glad to finally be on vacation but it was a crazy ride getting here! 

First, our plane was delayed. Then delayed again. And again. Then they announced that the pilot had reached his flying limit for the day, and although an extension could be made, they would not be making that decision until the incoming plane landed. 11:30 PM and 7 hours past schedule we FINALLY left the airport heading to Florida! 

We landed and after collecting our bags and transporting 5 book bags, 4 children, 3 carseats and 2 suitcases we loaded up the rental van and started the second leg - the hour drive to Anna Maria Island. 

We drove though an epic thunderstorm and arrived at our rental house at 3:30 AM. I fumbled for about 5 minutes in the POURING rain and CRAZY lightning to get the key to open the door.  Finally got the door open and was welcomed with 85 degree temps in the house - because of course, the air conditioner was broken! 

I was getting Georgia Grace ready for bed while Justin brought the other kids inside (they were asleep in the car). He woke Lillianne, told her to run in the house while he carried both boys. Both boys were crying from be woken, drenched in water and wondering what in the world they were doing up at this crazy hour - I quickly stripped them down and tried to get them calm. A few minutes passed, Justin looks up and asks "Where's Lillianne?" "I don't know. I thought she was still asleep in the car and you were going to go back and get her." PANIC. Yes, our little girl was outside in the thunderstorm for several minutes!! (She was in such a daze from being so tired she must not have understood to go inside.) We were all freaked out, exhausted, hot and wondering what kind of vacation we'd gotten ourselves into... 

The kids were EXCELLENT at the airport. I'm talking not a bicker, complaint or tantrum. They entertained each other and everyone around - made several friends with fellow travelers and brought smiles to an otherwise stressful situation. I was brought to tears several times with the number of strangers who approached our family to compliment their behavior. Several wanted to take them home - one even said "sitting here being delayed next to our kids was a highlight in the midst of a bad week". I was so proud of them! 

Sweet Georgia Grace pretty much slept the entire time we were delayed! 

Here's our beautiful place! The air is working (very quickly fixed this morning) and we enjoyed checking out a bit of the island this morning before long naps and fun in the pool this afternoon. 

Excited to be here --- looking forward to a fun, relaxing, special --- but uneventful --- time with my favorites!