Monday, June 25, 2012

Family Vacation 2011


Better late than never – Just want to catch things up so we have the highlights of our year in our blog book. Our family vacation last summer was to St. Pete Beach, Fl. I had a conference there and it was literally on the beach so we could not pass the opportunity up to turn the trip into a vacation. We all had a fabulous time, it was our first long vacation as a family of 4. Up until then we had only braved weekend trips but we survived this one and it was just so fun! One of my good friends, Molly, attended the conference too so she brought her hubby and daughter with her as well. We were thankful for the daddies who kept the kids while we did the work thing. I was so proud of my Sam. He wanted to be sure they didn’t just sit in the hotel while I was away so he planned fun outings for them each day.

It was great having Hannah along to play with Sammy. We had the occasional meltdown or argument between them but for the most part the big age gap really helps keep those to a minimum. We did experience our first (and hopefully our last) family car collision as well but it was minor and none were injured. I had a slight bump on my forehead and a bruised knee but everyone else was fine. It was the other driver’s fault so his insurance repaired my truck and all was well. I was SO grateful that Sam was driving during that experience b/c I would have been a hot mess had it happened with just me and the kids.

Our favorite part of the trip was by far the Pirate Cruise. We were not quite sure what to expect but the staff on the cruise went out of their way to provide an amazing family experience. We set sail at sunset and there were activities planned for the children so that they were still in our sight but we could sit back and enjoy some relaxed romantic moments as well. Hannah was sweet with how protective of Sammy she was. She even asked the storyteller if he could sit up front so he could see better and asked if he could have an extra gold coin. She kept her arm around him or held his hand almost the entire time. My favorite part of the evening was towards the end when they were playing the limbo and some fun music for families to dance to. Sam took Hannah out and twirled her around and everyone backed away to give them space. They were applauded at the end and several came and told Hannah after what a beautiful girl & dancer she is. Needless to say she was beaming when we pulled into dock. I am surprised we could get fit her big head back into the car!

Other trip highlights were late evenings with Molly in the courtyard. We waited until our families were asleep and we met down in this gorgeous little courtyard by the pool. We chatted and laughed with the sound of the ocean behind us and the breeze blowing our hair, it was so   relaxing. Also, I loved the sweet moments with just my little lovey & me. Sammy has always been a little fish who LOVES the ocean and Hannah, unfortunately has some skin issues that cause the ocean to not be her friend. So, there were a few occasions when Sammy and I left the others at the pool and the two of us went for a swim in the ocean. We even saw dolphins one time! Lastly, one of my favorite nights was our last night. I let Hannah stay up and come down to hang out with Molly and me, which she thought was so COOL. Later Hannah and I walked down onto the beach at night and laid in some chairs staring at the stars. We had one of the best talks I think we have ever had and then prayed together. When we finished praying we saw a shooting star. Simply amazing!

And now..Pictures!


We surprised them with their own vacation cakes to celebrate the start of our vacay


Our first night- it was just what the doctor ordered!


Started the trip off with a yummy seafood dinner


The kids LOVED our surfing themed hotel, it was a cool combo of retro and modern surfing memorabilia. Sam, the one we based the hotel choice around, was less impressed b/c it was a little more quaint then we expected but I thought it was just lovely. A good break from typical stuffy conference hotels.


Lots of pool and beach time with the Easters family





I had already forgotten this stage! This odd fighting pose is how Sammy would pose for pictures for a good chunk of 6 months or so. I have SO MANY like this.


We headed down to the Pier for a fun evening out and Hannah Banana came back with a new hairstyle!


We each took a turn holding this friendly parrot, Sammy begged for that to be his souvenir. If you can tell in this pic, Sammy ended the day with a strange sunburn! Poor Sam applied the sunscreen wrong and our boy had a red and white tiger striped face, it was pretty funny. Sammy got quite a few sympathetic stares. Sam felt just awful about it and I STILL give him a hard time about it, an entire year later. I just can’t help myself!


Hannah got up the nerve to do this jump thing, she squealed and had the best time doing flips. We were so proud of her!



We had the best time after dinner playing in the sand dunes. The kids pretended we were explorers and we played this fun game until the sun went down and we literally couldn’t see anymore. Sweet memories!


Sam took the kids to this mini golf place while I was at the conference, he even took a ton of pics so I could see what they did all day. Glad I did not know they were both so close to this alligator pit feeding the gators! Look at this?? I know gators can jump up and this just doesn’t seem safe to me, kinda like a law suit waiting to happen but the kids talked about it for days and loved it!


We visited the aquarium and they really enjoyed the touch tank and each got certificates to prove they fed the baby sharks.


My attempt at holding up the number 30 b/c both kids were blown away by the fact that this old lobster was 30 years old and that I was even older than it. Ouch. Sammy even told 2 people this news in the elevator. Thanks buddy.


Feeding the little sharks. No way I was letting him do that on his own.




Sweet sweet!



We found T-bow! Well not really, just a giant poster image of him but made these gator fans happy!


Sammy begged, yes, BEGGED for his picture by this draw bridge that was “ginormous” and also by this pirate who he swore tickled him.


We gave them a few dollars to spend on a souvenir, then we were pleasantly surprised when they each picked out something for the OTHER one with their money. Warmed my heart. So, of course we let them buy the gift and then something for themselves too. Sammy ended up with a rubber shark and a toy train and Hannah with a shark tooth necklace and a little yellow car (bet you can’t guess what Sammy picked out for her).


Funny memory. I lost my brand new iphone and freaked out a tad. I thought I had left it by the pool where I had specifically asked Sam to gather our items from the table while I rounded up the kiddos. We got to the room and it was no where to be found, we even called security but nothing was turned in. We searched high and low, I got frustrated and decided I needed a moment to myself so jumped in the shower and fumed the entire time- Until I turned off the water. I heard from the other side of the door the three of them searching everywhere and working together in such a sweet way. It put everything in perspective. I got out, apologized, and decided we would put it all behind us so we picked a movie to watch. Then, strangest thing, when Sam & Hannah opened the box of Triscuits to munch on, they found my phone IN THE BOX?? Sam apparently tossed it in the box without meaning too since it was also in my beach bag. I can’t make this stuff up!

Our Favorite part of the trip.. Pirate Cruise!



Here we all are with our face paint on and getting in the mood of it all with the exception of Ms. Too Cool for School. That’s right.. our girl is growing up too fast! There were apparently some boys her age on board and she REFUSED to have her face painted like a pirate.

I did get a few stares when Sam dropped us off at the hotel while he parked. I no longer had my pirate hat on so I was just rockin my beard out. Of course Hannah’s face wasn’t painted, and Sammy was asleep in my arms so his wasn’t obvious. I couldn’t figure out why I was getting odd looks when we passed people until one guy told me it was cute, oops! Note to self: baby wipes are your friend. End note.


Here is Sam dancing with his little princess! So sweet!


Hannah got to stay up and hang with us ladies in the court yard, fun fun!


Can’t forget this moment when Molly got our rental car stuck in this strange parking garage, with the researcher we were taking out to lunch in it! The three of us laughed so hard it hurt. We were stuck in there for a good 10 or 15 min inching the car around and back and forth. I took over for Molly and didn’t do much better. Oh, good times! Still makes me laugh to look at this!


Our best attempt at a family picture. I had bought the kids these sweet coordinating outfits and so for dinner that night I threw on a sundress and made them wear their nice clothes. Then my hubby came out in shorts & a tshirt b/c I forgot to tell him to pack nice clothes. Not that big of a deal, we hid him behind Hannah. Then we look down and Hannah’s dress is soaking wet. She had decided to keep her bathing suit on (WET bathing suit) b/c she was too lazy to change. Oh well. I did my best, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Right?


Sweet boy was so happy that he found me a flower, melts my heart




We stopped at the Children’s Museum in Tampa on our way home and had a great time!