Florida Vacation Part 1

I can’t believe that it is almost back to school time.  We have had a wonderful summer so far and just recently returned back from Florida this past week.  We did not have any family vacations scheduled, so we took the opportunity to tack on some time to our trip to Florida for our nephew/cousin’s Baptism.

Before I get into the trip, I want to stress that fact that travel with both kids is extremely enjoyable.  I am sure it has to do with age and the amount that we have exposed them to travel, but it really is no sweat anymore.  I don’t live in fear of the dreaded tantrum because Ryan can communicate now and I explain everything to him.  We read a book on the plane, did Mad Libs, and did a crossword puzzle.  It was awesome.

When I mentioned this to Ryan, he had this to say:  HAPPY TO GO ON TRIPS.  TOO LOVING TOTALLY ALL OF OUR ADVENTURES.  LIKE TO TRAVEL.  BECAUSE TOO WILLING TO DO IT, CAN WE TRAVEL MORE?

I told him that we are at the mercy of our finances and we will try and travel whenever we can.  I then asked him about waiting in the security line (he did awesome and it is not even an issue) and waiting to get off of the plane.

LIKE TO TAKE TRIPS SO I DEAL WITH IT.

Randy, the kids, and I used to live in St. Petersburg, Florida prior to our move to California (and then of course Texas).  Ryan and Grace are both huge fans of the beach, so we flew into Tampa and stayed in Downtown St. Petersburg.  Once we got there, our room was not yet ready, but I planned ahead.  We had swimsuits and towels packed in a separate bag so we changed in the hotel lobby restrooms and off we went to the beach!

I wish that I could have captured the pure joy on Ryan’s face when he was in the ocean.  It is hard for him to make eye contact, but boy does he do it in the ocean!  He was loving the water and swimming and the sand.  We stayed from 3-5pm and we had a lot of fun.  I was only able to capture one picture because we were having so much fun!

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Here is what Ryan had to say about the beach:  THE BEACH IS MY FAVORITE PLACE EVER.  CARING TO THINK I AM MEANT FOR THE OCEAN.  MOSTLY GOOD TO SWIM ALWAYS.  CARING TO VACATION THERE AGAIN SOON.

The next day, we planned to meet our great friends at their home to swim, fish, and go out on their boat.  Chris and Christine Oman are absolutely amazing people who used to be our neighbors when we lived in St. Petersburg.  They have 2 kids, Adelaide (she is Ryan’s age and will be 11 this month) and Cole (who is a year older than Grace).  Christine and I used to walk almost everyday with Adelaide and Ryan, side by side in strollers.  The two toddlers used to hold hands from their strollers and they would share snacks.

The kids and Randy enjoyed the pool and when Chris got home from work, the kids fished.  Grace caught a stingray!  She set the bar really high with her first time fishing!

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Cole, Grace, Adelaide, and the stingray!

We ate grilled burgers and veggies and fruit and then went out on the boat.

Actually, first, Grace went tubing with Adelaide and Cole!

And then, Ryan asked:  CAN I GO TUBING?  He wanted to go, so brave Mom (that’s me) got on too and we went tubing!

We spent the entire day with the Oman Family and it was like we had never left six years ago.

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We talked and reminisced and looked at pictures.  Ryan interviewed Chris about his job. Chris is a Project Manager in Construction and Ryan said:  LOVE LEARNING ABOUT THE INDUSTRY.  Christine and I told Ryan that he loved construction vehicles when he was a toddler!  We explained that he had a lot of construction books and that he would point and approximate something like, “What’s this?” and we would tell him the correct construction vehicle.  If we were wrong (whether by accident or on purpose) he would not move off of the vehicle until we told him the correct name of it.  Ryan then said:  LOVE HEARING THESE STORIES.

We had dessert. And then it was time to go.

Before we left, Ryan used his letter board to say:  TONIGHT WILL ALWAYS BE A GREAT MEMORY.

When I sat down to write this post, I asked Ryan’s thoughts about the day.  IT IS NO SURPRISE WHY YOU ARE BEST FRIENDS WITH CHRISTINE.  MOST AWESOME TIME WAS HAD.  TUBING TOTALLY AMAZING.  ALREADY MISS ALL OF THE OMANS.  CHRIS GOT ME RIGHT AWAY.  HE IS GOOD AND SO KIND.  REALLY LOVE THEM.  BOUND TO BE MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE VACATION.  TOO LIKING TO SEE THEM AGAIN SOON.

The next morning, we got up and went to one of our favorite restaurants in the area, Kojak’s, where we used to take the kids when they were young.  We told Ryan the story about how we had gone there with Grandma Chris, Aunt Sam, and Uncle Doug one time and we sat at the same table that we were seated at.  Ryan was about a year old at the time and Uncle Doug said to Ryan, “Ryan, where is the fan?” Ryan looked up at the fan in the restaurant and Uncle Doug said, “He’s a genius!” Ryan then began laughing and it was a running joke that any time Uncle Doug visited, he would call out “Genius!” and Ryan would laugh.  I reinforced again him how we all knew that he was smart back then.

We drove over to Orlando and got there in the afternoon.  We met at Aunt Sue’s house and we got to see Aunt Sue, Uncle Ralph, Bobby, Uncle Doug, Uncle Dan, Uncle Dave, Grandma Chris, Aunt Sam, and we met Aunt Sam’s boyfriend, Jeff.  Jeff is a New Jersey State Trooper.  Everyone in our family calls him Mr. Jeff now because one of Ryan’s cousins started the nickname.  Ryan wanted to interview him and Mr. Jeff agreed.  Ryan took a seat at the dining room table and Mr. Jeff joined him.  On the table, there were a few snacks and a leftover donut box from Wawa.

Ryan starts off:  HAVE A FITTING IDEA.  CALLING IT BOUND TO LIKE DONUTS IF YOU ARE A COP.

Everyone in the room started laughing!  I have no idea where Ryan gets this stuff (actually probably from Randy)!  Well, Ryan and Mr. Jeff had a donut while conducting the interview.

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Ryan and Mr. Jeff, enjoying their donuts.

Ryan’s thoughts on the interview:  MR. JEFF IS TOO AWESOME.  HE PUTS HIS LIFE IN DANGER DAILY.  TOO MUCH RESPECT FOR HIM.  MOSTLY LIKE TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH HIM.

We moved the party to Uncle Dave and Aunt Sophia’s house.  We had hot dogs and hamburgers and hung out.  The best part was that we got to meet Nate, who is Ryan and Grace’s cousin, who was to be Baptized the following day!  Nate was being passed around and I asked Ryan if he wanted to try and hold Nate and he said MEANINGFUL TO DO THAT.  Well, Ryan was very happy to do this and he did great.  He said I BELIEVE NATE IS AWESOME.  REALLY PROUD OF MYSELF.  HE IS JUST TOO CUTE AND FUN. THANKS FOR HELPING ME TO HOLD HIM.

The proud older cousin!

So that is the end of Part 1 of our vacation.  Please stay tuned for Part 2 which includes the Baptism, our trip to Disney (thank you to all of you who reacted, commented, and shared Ryan’s video of meeting Mickey! Who knew that almost 200,000 people would view it?!) , and meeting up with old friends.


6 thoughts on “Florida Vacation Part 1

  1. This was beautiful to read! When we all lived at Venetian, your family was the absolute kindest, friendliest neighbors we met there (by far!!!)❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denise, you are so kind to say that! Since leaving St. Petersburg, we haven’t yet found the same sense of community that we had in our neighborhood in Florida. We have had some good neighbors who became friends, but not like it was in St. Pete. We certainly miss that. I hope that you guys are doing well and thanks so much for reaching out.

      Like

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