Florida was amazing. The weather was beautiful. We left the snow behind and entered into high 80's low 90's nice and sunny weather. Just what I needed after the long winter we've had. We did a lot of traveling in our week there. We flew into Orlando because we only had a $1000 credit (from other tickets) and had to buy Sam a ticket since he is 2 now - and it was much cheaper. Our rental had unlimited miles and it was a good thing because the condo we were using (friends let us stay there) was 4 hours away! Our rental by the way was a brand new 2011 Town & Country Van that was so nice. We did not go to Disney, although Des was bummed about that. But not only is it WAY too expensive, but we needed a real vacation and there is nothing relaxing about Disney! We plan to go next time we go down when the boys are a little older. This is a struggle of having Des so much older than the others - they are interested in different things and at totally different levels. It's hard to please everyone right now. I can see the benefit of having kids closer together.
I'll start with the first part of our trip... we stayed at Matt's Dad & Stepmom's for 2 nights in Spring Hill. The kids had a blast and seemed to warm up to them quickly. They did a bunch of swimming and hanging in the hot tub, which me & baby had to pass on.
|Isaiah hanging out with Pepere|
|Memere was helping him load his Pez dispenser - A VERY serious job!|
|Des loves hot tubs!|
|Sam's just waking up from nap|
|Cuddling after a swim|
|Leaving for Naples|
They played the Wii with Pepere and Sam was really into it. He was screaming in excitement. He is such a ham, he had us all cracking up. I think he'll be a sports boy.
We packed back up and headed to Naples on Monday morning. We got to the condo early afternoon and after checking the place out, headed straight for the pool. Although some people live there year round, it is a resort and the place is amazing. That first day the water was almost too warm! There is a little movie theatre, an ice cream shop, a bistro and a gym all right near the unbelievable pool. Every time we walked in, Sam would yell "waterfall!"
|My feet :o) Watching the kids play with Matt in the pool|
|Baby Aube is starting to make his/her debut - |
That is probably why people think Sam wears a big brother shirt. :o(
|There is someone missing in this family photo...|
Des has turned into a little fish. Most of the time we were in Florida, she was under water. Her & her goggles became best friends and we couldn't get her to slow down. Unfortunately, I don't have an underwater camera cause I really wasn't able to get a picture of her above water! We also went to the ocean and were able to see a bunch of dolphins jumping up in the air. It was so cool. I was more excited than the kids were, I think! The waves were really strong and easily knocked us over. It was fun.
|Swimming at Memere & Pepere's|
For his birthday, Samuel got tickets from Donna for the whole family to go to the Naples Zoo. He loved it. He was very vocal the whole time. He is starting to talk so well, I can hardly believe it. When I heard him in the other room counting to 20 and yelling "ready or not, I'm coming!" I was blown away. My little boy is getting so big. One thing about Samuel is that no matter where he goes, he makes friends... Every time I turned around, he was talking to someone (and sometimes borrowing their stuff!)
|making friends at the zoo|
|Managed to get someone else's noodle from them...|
|This is fun! I love Florida!!|
We had very relaxing days that always consisted of swimming, laying in the sun and eating chocolate. And usually consisted of a nap for Samuel and me (and sometimes Isaiah). We loved the condo so much that we didn't even go out to eat, we bought groceries and ate in. It was a much needed and (in my humble opinion) and well deserved break for all of us. It's been a tough year.
|Oh, that sun feels good|
|She was there with us... (Des took this picture, isn't she sweet?)|
|Waiting for the waterfall to turn on!|
We are so thankful for those who helped make this trip possible and for all the people I had here in NH working away on Rachel's Playground so that I didn't need to think about it. The only thought I had about the playground the entire week was "it's going to be awesome!"
The only problem with going to Florida, was having to come back. Saturday morning, before we had to go, we went swimming for a couple hours. I was laying in the hot sun and wanting to stay there forever, but it was time to go. We left the condo at 1pm, drove 4 hours, had a delay on our flight and finally pulled into our driveway at 1:30am... climbed into bed at 2am and got up at 7am to get to church and announce Rachel's Playground Fundraiser! I was immediately back to work. And for some unknown reason, this house is a lot harder to keep clean and seems to make a lot more laundry than the one in FL!
Reality is hard. I went to the cemetery that Sunday afternoon to visit since I missed Friday. All the snow was gone again, but her flowers were still there. Eventually they will take them if I don't move them. I am not usually creeped out there, but there was a strange guy walking around wearing sunglasses and a black coat (it was almost dark) and he looked like he was on something, stumbling around. He was looking in the windows of the tombs and he just kept moving closer to me even though it was obvious I was visiting. I got in my van and drove up to the top of the hill and I couldn't get myself to leave. Rachel is in the ground and yet all I could think was "I'm not leaving my daughter here with this crazy guy" I watched him from a distance and when he moved past her grave I went back down and sat there. Apparently I wasn't the only one waiting for him to move away cause someone else got out of his car as soon as he was gone too. But I cried so hard on the way home... my mother's instinct will not let up and the desire to protect even my baby in the ground is almost enough to totally consume me. It's the most irrational feeling I've had so far... and yet it makes perfect sense to me. I mean, what kind of mother would leave her baby alone with a creepy drunk guy? I wonder if I'll ever truly come to terms with the fact that she is gone...to be honest, I don't want to. I want her here.