Mike needed to spend a week in India, so we scheduled his trip to coincide with our Spring Break from CC so that the boys and I could fly to Florida. Obviously, much changed since the day we made our plans. Mike flew to London (without any wi-fi on his flight) and found out when he arrived that India had closed its borders and he would need to fly back to Denver. Meanwhile, the boys and I had already landed in Florida to spend time with my parents.
Our week there started much like we had hoped, with various plans in place, but we slowly took more activities off our agenda when it became apparent that we needed to practice social distancing.
We had a wonderful time there. It had been years since our last trip to Florida and we hadn’t seen their condo, yet. Micah was struck by how much Florida was like a jungle/rain forest. Ethan was enamored with the opportunities to take lots of pictures with his Grandpa.
Some condo highlights included lots of time reading, scootering, and playing in the pool, as well as piano-playing, game-playing (milestone alert – Ethan and I played our first games of scrabble), worksheet-making, and picture-editing.
Some outside of the condo highlights included the rodeo, the beach, a boys’ only kayak trip, my Dad’s band concert, and lots of walks to see wildlife. The boys took a bunch of great pictures, which we will hopefully eventually do a post about on here. My dad taught them how to edit them, which was a fun new skill for them.
Obviously, time with our family (and the fun overlap with Mr. Rick!) are the things we cherished the most. Thanks for hosting us so graciously during a strange and uncertain time!!
We had a blast at the Splash Park on Marco Island! The boys went back and forth between the splash park and the Kids’ Cove playground for a couple hours of fun!
One of the days that Daddio was there we reserved for the beach. Going to the beach is one of his favorite activities, so we wanted to share that time with him! We all had a great time, as you can tell. =)
And here are a few remaining pictures from our awesome time in Florida. Ethan took lots of pictures when he was out looking at wildlife – he must look up to his grandpa or something. =) We also had a lovely breakfast with my great uncle Dave (my grandpa’s brother) and great aunt Ev.
Thank you, Dad and Mom, for taking so many beautiful pictures of our wonderful vacation!! You captured our smiles – sheer joy! We had such a blast! Thank you for this trip!
The first part of the trip was just the boys and me with my grandpa and my parents. Then we kept adding people to our group – wonderful additions. My cousin, Anne, came first, followed by her parents and my hubby. Mike was there from Thursday night until Sunday – when we all left together.
Pictures from my Grandpa’s condo:
Shark Valley probably deserves a post of its own because my Dad captured so many cool shots of birds, alligators, and turtles. I will try to limit it to just a few.
So, I’ve decided to break up my Florida trip posts between pictures I took and pictures my dad/mom took. Let’s face it – there is no comparison in the quality and to put them next to each other just makes no sense. =) I didn’t take many pictures for this very reason. But here are some of the highlights I captured (posts to follow will include more detail).
The boys were great on the plane and in the airport. I traveled solo with them and we got our workout running through the airport trying to find our plane. We were relieved just to have made it and to be able to sit together!
We went for lots of walks, looking for salamanders and snail shells. The boys would tell you that one of their highlights was going for walks in the dark. Great Grandpa took each of them out on separate evenings – a big treat! I also spent time with each boy separately on walks at night. And on our final night there, I believe a rather large group went out for a walk in their pajamas (maybe just the boys were in pajamas, but I was out on a date with Mikey, so I can’t be sure!).
We went to the library – such a fun one! – and spent lots of time reading books with various people:
We also enjoyed LOTS of games:
We skyped/facetimed with various members of the family (Aunt Sal, Jen & Jason, Ger, Lauren and Ivan, Cousin Sarah):
We enjoyed lots of great food:
Other things I captured throughout the week:
As I said, more details to follow in future posts. Suffice it to say, we had a blast!!!
On Wednesday morning, we packed up the 4Runner and headed to Hinesville, GA. We ate lunch there and saw Mike’s old house and elementary school. We also spent a little bit of time on the army base, Fort Stewart.
We spent the rest of that afternoon and the following morning on St. Simons Island. We got an awesome hotel right on the beach and really enjoyed those 24 hours there. We will definitely visit again! At the beach we saw lots of crabs, including a big horseshoe crab, and a sting ray.
Then we drove to Orlando, Florida, where we spent two days. We met up with our friends, Brandon, Kelsey and Piper, there and enjoyed a delicious meal at the House of Blues. We spent one day at Blizzard Beach. We had a blast there!! Unfortunately our time there was cut short by a big storm (including lots of lightning), so we spent the last bit of our time there huddled under a shelter with a bunch of other people. Everyone was in good spirits there (for the most part), but especially Micah. He was shouting, “I love ALL my new people. I am so happy to be here with all my new people.”
Mike, Brandon and Ethan went golfing the morning before our trip home. E was super excited because he had never been golfing with Brandon before. I think it lived up to his expectations. =) The rest of us spent some time at the hotel and at the pool.
Before we left for the trip home, we stopped by the Art of Animation Disney hotel and walked through some of the themed areas outside. AMAZING. They had a wing devoted to all things “Cars” and another wing devoted to “Finding Nemo”…two of our absolute favorites. As you can see, Ethan really loved posing for pictures with each of the characters. Hilarious.
Thankfully a few of the hours home consisted of boys sleeping. Their teeny tiny blankets sure came in handy on this trip!
What a blast! We loved spending time with Grandma Cleve and the Gossetts. We are blessed with great friends and great family!
Late Thursday night Mike flew down to enjoy a long weekend with us. Thankfully the snow did not stop him!! We had a great time with him. He was able to spend time in the pool, at the beach, riding bikes, playing golf and going on a date with me! He squeezed a lot of fun into his short trip – so thankful!
Time with family is priceless. We’ve made memories that will last…for that we are thankful.
Last week we had the pleasure of vacationing in Naples, Florida. My grandpa lives there 6 months out of the year and my parents have now been living there for 3 of those. The boys and I flew down on Sunday night and Mike joined us on Thursday evening. Then we all flew back home on Sunday night. We stayed with my grandpa (as did my parents) and had an absolutely wonderful time. As always, pictures tell the story much better than my words. I’m doing this in two parts – part one being before Mike arrived and part two being when Mike was with us.
*Photo cred – any picture that looks amazing was taken by my dad. =D
At Grandpa and Grandma’s mobile home:
Going to the pool:
Hanging out at Great Grandpa’s condo:
Working on a 500-piece puzzle:
Reading lots and lots of books:
Going for walks to find salamanders:
Riding Ethan’s NEW bike:
Going out for breakfast:
Playing “War” with Grandma (over and over and over…):
Ethan’s late night walk with great grandpa (one of his highlights):
A little hike to find alligators and birds (only saw one alligator this time):
2013 has been a BIG year for us…a season of change. Our latest big adventure began at the end of January when we moved to Georgia. Mike bid IBM adieu in December and started the new year working for a great company called, “BIAS Corporation”. Our connection to the company was through some friends of ours, who Mike first met when he was traveling to Bermuda for work a couple of years ago. So for the first time in our 7 years of marriage, Mike began commuting to an office every day. This was quite a transition for him after 6.5 years as a traveling consultant. Also, for the first time in our marriage, I became a full-time, stay-at-home Mom…an intimidating role for me. We bought a new house in Georgia and began renting our condo in Colorado…a blessing the Lord orchestrated beautifully and for which we are so thankful. We’ve been adjusting to a new climate, new friends, new church, and new roles with the Lord’s grace and have been really enjoying our adventure!!
2013 in Pictures
Our first family picture in Georgia, the day we moved:
Our new home:
I drove down to Florida with my dad to visit my parents and grandparents for a week with the boys. Here’s Ethan reading a book with his great grandpa:
And E playing, “Memory” with great grandma:
Micah with my mom:
Ethan making a new game with my Dad:
Playing in the sand:
Mike’s Mom, AKA Grandma Cleve, visited for a week in February:
My cousin, Anne, stopped by on her way down to Florida to see our grandparents:
My brother, Gerrit, and his sweet pregnant wife, Lauren, came out for a visit over Easter:
My Uncle Brad and Aunt Sally stopped by on their way down to Florida and had a nice breakfast with us. Ethan specifically wore his Packers shirt for Uncle Brad:
Then my parents stopped in for a couple of days on their way back to Wisconsin from Florida (we clearly moved to a good location as a halfway point between WI and FL!!).
We had our first real play date with our now dear friends. HUGE blessing.
My sister, Jennie, and her husband, Jason, came for a visit!
Ethan turned 4 on June 1st:
E got a scooter for his birthday and I got my new pixie haircut:
E also got golf clubs for his birthday and went golfing with his daddy:
Mike’s Dad, Grandpa Russ, came for a visit:
E caught his first fish:
We celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary:
Ashley (Mike’s sister) and her fiancee, Zach, came for a visit:
My Mom flew in for a brief trip:
Mike and I went to an Atlanta Braves game with some friends from church and had incredible seats:
My sister, Jennie, extended her work trip by a couple of days to spend some time with us:
Mike celebrated his 30th birthday!!
My best friend, Cassia, and I (along with our families) met in Louisville for a long weekend together:
We went to Missouri for my grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary celebration on houseboats. We reunited with our Denver cousins:
4 generations of Christ-followers right here!!
My sweet friend, Meagen, came out for a visit!
Ethan went to his Open House at preschool:
We took a family trip over Labor Day weekend:
While we were there, my sweet Grandma went to be with Jesus. She was an incredible woman and we were blessed to have so many joyful years with her!
I had the opportunity to go back to Michigan for her funeral. Here are my four uncles…matching. Classic. =)
And my cousins and grandpa, smiling, because we know where she is and who is with her:
I finally got to meet my sweet nephew, Ivan, who was born on August 5th: