The last leg of our journey.
We woke up Friday and packed the car, yet again, to travel to our last destination. It's about an hour drive from our Orlando place. With 16 people, however, it takes a while to pack up a house, load cars, get going, and arrive. It took about 3 hours, but that was actually due to the incredible DOWN POUR that was happening. It was quite insane. The worst yet. But perfectly timed. (If it had to have happened at all) I fell asleep in the car, but Dave (who was driving) said it was the WORST rain storm he has seen! Dave and Eric were navigating, Cha and Soph were bonding in the middle seats,
while Aubs and I were in the back.
First thing we did (well, first after getting settled) was get us some food. It's HARD trying to find a place 11 different people will eat at. Especially when 3 people have different allergies, and another is pregnant! We settled on a local cuban diner, and everyone was happy. The girls were excited to get out, stretch their legs and see the others that weren't in the car with us. Aubree was giving out back rubs. Ben, Grammi, Grumps, and I were the lucky ones. We were told by our waitress to watch out for "alien" jellyfish that are abundant on the local beaches....noted!
The beach would have to wait until tomorrow, when hopefully the rain would decide to let us play.
Another prayer answered with blue skies in the morning. We ventured out to the beach as early as we could. Even though it was HOT again (probably the hottest yet) standing at the shore line and letting the waves crash around your feet, made it feel 10 degrees cooler. The breeze was amazing and the girls we already living it up. The nice thing about this beach were the waves. They weren't that big. So it wan't too scary. Sophie was fearless, diving into them. Aubree had fun running away from them. We wouldn't let them get in too deep however. Upon doing some research about our beach, my Mom learned that it is the 5th highest shark bite beach IN THE WORLD!! So needless to say the shore was our friend, but not the waters!
The beach was huge, meaning there was a lot of sand before you even got to the ocean. LOTS of room to play and go shell hunting. Another fun thing during the day, when the tide wasn't high, were these long shallow pools of hot water created by the high tide at night. That was the favorite place to be. It was WAY to hot for me, but the girls were LOVING IT!!!! And I was loving that they weren't in the shark infested, "alien" jellyfish infested, waters.
All morning we saw these helicopters flying back and forth, wondering what in the world...we figured since we were at Cape Canaveral they were around for some military reason....
We had fun standing right on the shore line and sinking in the sand. Eventually we were a few inches shorter :) As we were standing we saw schools of dolphins. And they were close. And there were A LOT of them. As soon as we thought they were gone, more would come. And then more. It was beautiful. (Dave and Aubree also saw a sea turtle and a pretty school of fish) The boys went out a little further than we were comfortable with, given our new creepy information. They all got stung by the "alien" jellyfish, and I was content to stay away.
When it came around lunch time we decided we should probably leave and get some grub. We went to see Brittany's place first and we're greeted by an amazing view.
(Aubree loving her Grammi)
(Cutest nephew Bradlee.)
We walked along the pier to find a yummy place to eat...but alas there wasn't such a place! We settled for a slushee until we decided where to get food.
We went from one place to another...seriously....no restaurants were open until evening!
(I'm pretty sure a lot of people thought Sophie was Guy and Kelsey's kid...she was a leech)
(it was even hot inside...Aubree loved this fan, cooling off some more)
(riding the waves)
By the time we finally found a place to eat it was about dinner time! Crazy!
After "linner" we all went back to get ready. We wanted to take some nice family photos on the beach.
Individual families and all together. Also my girls 3 and 5 year portraits. It was going really well, Aubree was being cute and following direction pretty well. I think we got some got great shots.
Then it was Sophie's turn....
She decided to run into the ocean...with her WHITE capri's...so 3 year portraits...scratch. Maybe at home :(
Obviously we still got cute shots, just not what I wanted for their yearly portraits.
My outfit was slightly different this day...I got BURNED on my back and shoulders the day before. Ya, even after my 50 spf, not getting in the water, AND only being out for a few hours....my poor whitey white skin.
This day was full of fun revelations. Aubree had made a couple of friends that were at the beach the same times as us. In fact it was a bit bizarre. The first time we met them, Aubree and her new friend Chloe (which she pointed out, was not "Karen's" Chloe, but a new one) were wearing the exact same swimming suit. The next day they were wearing the same print, but different style! It was crazy.
Anyway...her mom is local and was telling us fun stories. She works at Cape Canaveral and told us that the helicopters we saw the day before WERE monitoring military business. Nuclear warhead business! They were being shipped in on submarines and apparently the helicopters were following their path. Another fun tidbit of information was that our beach had just set a new record that weekend. Not so much a fun record though. It was a shark sighting record! The highest in it's history! Wowza.
We also learned that there was a death that week on our beach. It was a few days before we arrived. Apparently an 18 year old boy was swimming out with his family and just disappeared. They searched all day and never found him. Then the next morning he washed up on shore. It was determined that he was caught in a rip tide. We saw signs EVERYWHERE about how to swim out of a rip tide, apparently another "fun" thing about or beach was the extreme rip tides they have! Sheesh. If I was scared before....now I really was. So we mostly stayed in the pools.
I did venture back to the shore line and waded in a bit. One last time before having to go home and pack. Just then a crab decided to latch on to my foot! I lifted my foot up and he was still dangling on....I had to shake him off and I was officially done with the creepy waters!
At "home" it was time to say goodbye. It was very sad to be going. We had had lots of fun and I was not ready to leave. I could've done at least a few more days at the beach. But, it was time...and we packed up and said goodbye to Florida.
The airport was a little more traumatic this time. It's never as fun traveling home as it is traveling out.
Our flight was bigger though, making me less claustrophobic. There was a down side. Three seats to one row. Meaning me and both kids. Dave sat behind me, with Kels and Guy, so he wasn't too far to help where he could...but it was basically up to me. At one point Sophie did get up and want to sit with Dad. It was a nice break for me....but, cute little Sophie peed on Dave again. A FULL bladder. Thankfully on our carryon's we had some clothes so they weren't too gross. Just not clean. The girls did really great on the plane and I was just impressed at how well they did with the whole trip. They only had 1 official nap time throughout the whole 10 days. Sure they zonked out when tired enough, but they didn't have a routine, and they did stellar!
It was bittersweet to be coming home, but a great vacation full of priceless memories had just been made. Can't complain about that.