Sunday, April 19, 2015

FLORIDA

 On the road---We got on the road at 1:20 pm on Friday March 27 for the long trip to Florida.  There was a fair amount of apprehension about driving the trip straight through.  Concerns about how the kids would do in the car for so long and how we would catch enough sleep during the trip---we really didn't need to worry about the kids too much.  They took a bit longer to fall asleep at night, but they both took naps in the car and eventually fell asleep for the night.
Here is Thijs napping in the car on while still in Minnesota. We opted to go through southern Minnesota and St. Louis, MO instead of going through Wisconsin and all of Illinois.  We spend enough time driving that direction and for the few extra minutes we got a change of scenery.  John and I managed to sleep a few hours of sleep in the car during the overnight.  I got to avoid driving through the construction around Nashville, TN.  The kids woke up around 6:30 am. 


After sleeping in the car, we were ready for some breakfast.  If you are going to be in the South for breakfast, you have to stop at Waffle House. We had the quintessential Southern waitress.  She called us "honey" and "baby" all through the meal.  Lizzy loves sweet breakfast and so gobbled up her food.  Thijs opted for the chocolate chip waffles like any good kid would.  When we got back on the road, the sun was up and we could see how green everything was.  SPRING!
 Of course we had to stop at the Florida Welcome Center to get our free glass of orange juice.  The day before Thijs had drawn this wonderful picture at preschool of the house in the Florida with sand and water in the background.  He had also written the word FLORIDA across the top.  Here he is in Florida with his Florida picture. 




 We made it to St. George Island around 3pm.  The house wasn't quite ready so we stopped for ice cream.
 Finally we made it to our destination: Tradewinds on St. George Island, FL. My parents so generously invited us to join them at this house for Spring Break.  It was right on the Gulf of Mexico.  Every morning Lizzy would enthusiastically proclaim "Water! Water!" when she would look out the windows.

 In short order, we were on the beach playing in the sand.  Both Thijs and Lizzy seemed to really enjoy this outside time to explore.  Lizzy is more of an on the go girl and so she mostly just walked around in the sand.  Thijs was ready to excavate and build.

 My sisters and their boyfriends flew in late that night.  We were so exhausted from the drive that we were all asleep around 9 pm.
 Sunrise the first morning on the front deck.  Paradise….really--I mean waking up to this was a real blessing.
 Lizzy was ready to get outside and explore! Sunhat, sunglasses, sandals…paci?

 Lizzy enjoyed hamming it up for everyone. Unfortunately, she came down with croup. After two mornings of her gasping and coughing, we took her into the clinic.  They gave her some stuff to help clear it up a bit.  She did very well, but she wasn't quite herself for the trip.


 We drove into Appalachicola for some seafood.  Thijs was intent on trying many new species.  At this outing, he tried crab cakes, alligator, and tuna.


Sunrise on Tuesday morning…again what a wonderful view. 

 On Tuesday we headed to Wakulla Springs about 1.5 hours away.  It is a freshwater spring that was the location for the filming of Tarzan (the old one) and Creature from the Blue Lagoon. They have fabulous boat tours so show off their wildlife.  Unfortunately, we missed their manatee season by a few weeks.

 There is an alligator right next to Thijs' ear.

 After the boat tour, John, Lizzy, Thijs, and I all went swimming in the spring fed river.  The water is really clear so Thijs and John took out their snorkel stuff.  I couldn't get a great picture of them snorkeling.  Thijs did really well.  When they came across some Mullet, I guess he sped right up and snorkeled right over top of them.


A male Anhinga sunning itself.
 Wednesday morning was fishing morning---we had to meet the guide at 7:30 am on the docks.  It was perfect!
 Here is Kathleen sitting at the bow of the boat on our way out to the fishing spot.
 We caught a few blue crab, but threw them back.
 Here is John and Thijs working on Thijs reeling in his first catch of the day.
 He caught a little white trout.
 Here is a female blue crab with an egg sac on its underside.
 Andrea caught the most impressive fish when she reeled in a three foot bonnet head shark.
 After three hours of fishing, our cooler was filled with 67 fish.  White trout and Whiting were the two fish we caught and kept.  There were times when three people had fish on at the same time.  It was a beautiful morning for fishing.
Our guide, Captain Rudy, graciously cleaned all of our catch!  While we were waiting Thijs and his aunties pretended they were fish. 

Lizzy and her Aunt Leeny playing on the couch together. 







 Thursday morning we headed to the St. George Island State Park.  They offer beach wheelchairs and have beautiful beaches.  We also had a picnic lunch at the park.

 After running around the beach, Lizzy was ready for a good nap.