Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Trip Update #5

Since more time has passed since our trip than the actual length of our entire trip, I will wrap things up today. Here are some of the things we did besides go to the pool or beach.

You may remember that Neve got an American Girl doll for her birthday. Everything involving these dolls is slightly over the top, so it only makes sense that there are American Girl stores in certain cities where you can take your doll to eat, shop and go to the salon. Lucky for (some of) us, there happens to be a store in Miami. However, Miami is a big city and the store was far away. Dale’s sister Jean was a saint and drove the girls (Chloe, Sarah and Neve) and me one hour each way through heavy traffic so we could go worship at the American Girl temple. We went for afternoon tea and I have to admit it was actually pretty cute. The dolls sat at the table in their own seats while we had tea, along with a 3-tiered assortment of finger foods and sweets. Neve was pretty pleased with it all and the rest of us had fun too, so it was worth it. Especially since I wasn’t the one driving in crazy traffic.

During this time, Dale and Spencer went to the Everglades. They saw a few alligators, but not as close-up as Shannon did.

We also spent a day at a waterpark. It was a big place with a whole bunch of cool slides we’d never seen before. Neve is more of a cautious type, so she struggled a bit with some of the more dramatic slides. That’s a diplomatic way of saying that she whimpered and pouted and had a dark cloud over her head whenever we went on slides without her (there were many that she didn’t want to go on). But she lightened up as the day went on and left her tiny comfort zone and ended up having a lot of fun. We stayed all day until they basically pushed us and our Dippin Dots out the gates at closing time.

The main reason for our trip was to see Dale’s sister and her family. We stayed at their house a couple of nights and went over to visit almost every evening when we stayed at the condo. They are very gracious and generous hosts and served us delicious meals and key lime pies and lots of wine. Hanging out with them on their beautiful deck every night, surrounded by patio lights and tropical trees, was definitely a highlight. The kids loved spending time with their cousins. As I mentioned before, Chloe and Sarah were together every possible second and even though Amy had classes during the day, we usually saw her in the evenings.

It was sad to leave, but we told ourselves we wouldn’t wait four years to come visit again. But with Sarah off to college in the fall and Chloe not far behind, it won’t be as simple. I’m so glad we went while it was still relatively uncomplicated. I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a previous post, but we weren’t even planning to go this year. A couple of months ago, I went for lunch with my boss and was telling her Dale and I had talked about a spring break trip to Florida but had come to a firm decision to just stay home and save money. My boss has young-adult children who don’t live at home anymore and by the end of our lunch, she had convinced me that we couldn’t pass up the chance to take a family trip while the kids were still all at home. So I texted Dale, “Let’s book Miami!” And he texted right back, “Sure.” He doesn’t need much convincing when it comes to travel. I like that about him.

Jax Beach

On the way home we stopped in Jacksonville, where Chloe went on a youth trip last summer. She showed us around and met up with someone she knew. We also stopped in Savannah for a couple of hours. I’d love to go back and spend more time there, but we'll have to save that for another time. 


Dale is shocked and awestruck by what he sees. What is it?!

oh, a giant container ship floating down the river.

It's hard to get the full scale effect here, but that ship was ENORMOUS. Think of each of those containers as a train box car. We were very worried it wouldn't fit under the bridge but it seems this isn't the first ship of its size ever to come into port.

Spencer's birthday, Good Friday and Easter all happened on the drive home, so the celebrations were very low key. It didn't help that Spencer wasn't feeling great (in fact, he missed four days of school the week we got back) but he managed to eat a nice heavy birthday meal at Cracker Barrel. 

The new van served us well. It was so nice to have everything in working order. It was especially awesome not having to guess when we needed gas. The built-in video screens were great, but for some crazy reason, the children only watched two movies the entire trip. That's mostly because they could never agree on a movie and we had a tough time figuring out how to play two different movies and get the headphones working for the right movie. First world problems, I know. But before this, we had a portable DVD player that was super awkward to set up and of course they always wanted to watch movies then. They probably just liked seeing me struggle. Instead of watching movies, they read, listened to music, played games, and were obsessive about finding North American license plates (Rhode Island and New Mexico were the only US states we didn't see).
We're  already planning our next couple of trips. In the meantime, I can finally get back to blogging about everyday things like broken toes, new babies, and anniversaries.

not our best family picture


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you went on your trip. So great. And I love that Dale is easy to convince to travel. Steve is like that too. I think it has something to do with being on the same page as a couple and knowing that the other wouldn't say it if they had not really thought it through...which would mean there would be good reasons to go and you should go. Or at least that's what I tell myself. :)

p.s. Broken toes??

Anonymous said...

I have loved the trip recaps and pics! Thanks for sharing. I can't stop laughing at that pic of Dale looking shocked. hee.

Daniel said...

Ok, I've finally made it through the trip update - you sure packed a lot in in a short time! So glad you made the spur-of-the-moment choice to go!

The waterslide park looks awesome!

I love Dale's incredulous look - even his spoon looks surprised. That is a pretty big ship!

I happen to notice that there are two people missing in the American Girl tea photo, but only one empty chair - did you have Jean keep the car running while you were in there? That's mean.

I always enjoy your road trips! Now, where are the baby pictures?!