florida part 3!

The last of our vacation!
James had to get back to Utah (something about working or something to make a living? Paying bills? I dunno. ;-) but the girls and I stayed an additional week to party! To celebrate the 4th we started by swimming and having a picnic lunch by the pool, then went to the theater to see The BFG- which was adorable! Olivia lost interest about 2/3 of the way through and wanted to walk up and down our row to eat popcorn off the floor (meh, happens). Then we ate...Italian food! (don't judge us, we still love America. And also pasta.). At dusk we moseyed on over to the lake for the small fireworks show the town does.

I had high hopes this year, but Jillian is still afraid of sparklers! Even with the clever cup-over-your-hand trick. We watched the fireworks from far away enough this year that the volume didn't bother her, but we had ear plugs ready anyway. Sometimes this sensory processing stuff really throws me and I have no idea how to parent around it. It's a grand experiment in wingin' it you guys.

^Have I mentioned we got to meet my brand new first ever NEPHEW this trip!? And we were matching, so naturally I demanded a picture. Seriously those cheeks slay me. Baby Benji is a keeper!

We had to squeeze in another beach trip before we left! This time we went to Anastasia State Park.

^SEE?! Keeper. Total keeper.

Jillian didn't have much interest in playing in the ocean (unlike her sister) on our previous beach trip, but this time she was loving it! 

^Me and my Momma!

My Dad doesn't love the beach (umm..are we even related?), but we were happy he came and "endured" it with us anyway! Don't tell him, but those 5 granddaughters have him wrapped around their little fingers! So, "Papa aren't you coming to the beach?!" is pretty much all it took.

After the beach we went to Salt Life for lunch. Jillian tried and LOVED their calamari! I don't blame her- it was some of the best I've had! She thought it was hilarious she was eating squid and has requested it a couple of times since. A foodie that one...

All in all this was one of my favorite trips back to Florida. We have a stock pile of memories to get us through to our next trip! <3 br="">

florida part 2!

One of the highlights of our trip was our family reunion! This was the first official reunion with my Mom's side of the family with all of the cousins I grew up with- it was such a blast! 

We rented giant inflatable water slides and spent a lot of playing on those, swimming, and hanging out outside try to avoid piles of fire ants (something my girls had to learn about the hard way). 

The littles loved the golf cart train!

^Double fisting snacks. This kid probably had 50 Tootsie Pops that weekend. 

^We had a large tarp/tent thing set up outside to eat and chill under. At one point a storm blew in really quickly and it started down pouring. When the wind picked up it almost blew the whole thing away so we had to lower it to the ground and all crammed underneath it while we waited for the storm to blow over! Come to think of it...I guess none of us were too concerned about lightning! (Yikes!)

One night we had a movie night, dinner, and an impromptu dance party at the church. The kiddos loved all being together and being crazy (something our family does well). ;-)

^Making pet rocks and spoon puppets! 

When the music started playing Olivia danced literally non-stop for almost an hour straight. She was fueled by the endless amounts of Skittles and M&Ms on the table within her reach I'm sure.

^Almost all of the cousins and our spouses out to lunch! Some of my favorite memories growing up are with my cousins- they really defined my childhood. Like driving to school every morning jamming out to Jimmy Eat World, making homemade movies with terribly cheesy plot lines (The Last Scream of Elizabeth Kisser), four wheeling, and swimming at Dave's pond. I definitely want my kids to have that same connection with their cousins!

(Almost) all of us! 

^I couldn't find these two for a few minutes. Then I followed the giggles and found them playing and laughing on Nana's bed! (The flash from my camera threw them off in this picture..haha!)

Our family decided to start doing this reunion every other year and I couldn't be more excited. There just isn't anything else as good as family. <3 span="">

^Feeding turtles at the pond at Nana and Papa's new house! The ducks weren't interested. Oh well, feeding turtles is way cooler.

I also got to meet up with one of my best friends from high school and her cute baby for lunch one day! Ten years later and she hasn't changed a bit!


florida part 1!

I meant to get this post up much sooner, but it's taken all week just to get back into the swing of things post-vacation. Mostly me trying to figure out what to do with the girls without my Mom and Dad around swooning over them and retraining my kids what a bedtime is- because that was definitely nonexistent the whole time we were there.

We got to spend two weeks in Florida this time, which was perfect! We were able to see a lot of friends and family and get in a lot of pool and beach time. I think we'll have to start going in two week stints from now on.

 ^There are 6 grandkids in our family and 5 of them are girls. So naturally Uncle James got a fancy makeover!

 Pool time with cousins! We went swimming almost every day we where there. (I think I only bathed my kids with soap like 4 times in 2 weeks...swimming counts as a bath sometimes, right? ;-) Don't judge me.)

 Olivia is so fearless in the water- it's a little alarming!

 ^Olivia inspecting Baby Benji's tiny toes with Papa while eating at Mellow Mushroom! Afterward we saw Finding Dory- we all loved it!

One morning we went to a neighbor's corn field to get some corn to enjoy at our family reunion! Fortunately it didn't take very long because it was hotter than all get out (and only 10am!). You forget what the middle of a Florida summer is like when you haven't been in one in a while! Utah gets just as hot temperature wise, but the humidity is a total game changer.

 ^The best part about fresh corn is eating it right after picking it! So sweet and delicious. 

^My cousin Jenn now lives in Utah so we get to see her often (lucky us!), but since she was in Florida at the same time as us for our reunion, we got together with one of our childhood friends and our collective EIGHT kids! Each of our oldest starts kindergarten this fall. *sob.

 One day we drove over to Fernandina Beach where a good family friend is living for the summer. They're some of my favorite people on the planet, so spending a day with them at my favorite place on the planet was magic. 

^Confession. I don't like my sunglasses- they're annoyingly large. I sat on mine the day before we left and had to pick up a random pair on the way to the beach that day from CVS. But I paid $20 for them so I guess I'm keepin' 'em until I sit on them again, or Olivia gets a hold of them- whichever comes first. :-D

Olivia's last beach trip was to California last summer, where she tried to just eat the sand as quickly as she could. Fortunately this year that wasn't her thing. (Now she just sticks random objects up her nose...but that's another story).
^See...now you're checking out my giant sunglasses wondering if you like them or not either. It's fine. ;-)

 ^We brought home so many great shells!

 ^Nana and Papa with all the grandkids! 
Since my parents are selling their house it's a little bittersweet that this was our last big hoo-rah at the home we all grew up in. But we made so many great memories and I know there will be more to come in their new house too!

More pictures to come!