Friday, January 21, 2011

Sunny Beaches

We took a beach vacation this month!  Our little family was joined by my in-laws for a four-day trip to Sanibel Island, Fl.  We can never get away very long because of all our critter responsibilities, but honestly, after four days or so, I’m ready to come home.  I like home! This vacation was not meant to be an escape from home, so much as from the winter weather!  And, lo and behold, the day we left Southern Indiana was hit by a huge snow storm.  The temps with wind chill were below zero.  So, we were all quite happy to be in sunny Sanibel.  However, Sanibel was hit with unseasonably cool temperatures there as well.  Our days were not as warm as we would have liked (our two full days only hit 60), but it did not stop us from having a super time! 
Cam and I took Lila to Sanibel her first winter.  We had a great time and had wanted to go back ever since.  The place we stayed, Water Side Inn, is a little mom and pop place right on the beach.  Nothing fancy, but just what we wanted.  

Sanibel is not built up at all.  Driving the main roads (there are about 4) feels very tropical and lush.  Apparently, they have a terrible mosquito problem during the summer, but during the winter months, it is gorgeous.  It’s known for its fantastic shelling opportunities and in fact, the beach is just full of them.  It’s not very soft to walk on because the shells are so prevalent.  

We ate our weight in seafood, saw dolphins up close and personal, took a frigid open-air tram ride through the J.D. Ding Darling Nature Preserve, and played on the beach.  I got a chance to go shopping by myself and found some great sandals to pull out this summer and remember our trip.  Cam and I even got to sneak away for an ice cream date!  We ate alligator, escargot, fresh grouper, and calamari. 

Lila thoroughly enjoyed the beach!  The past couple times she has been, she’s been a little leary.  But, this time she was all about it!  She and Nana made sand “cookies” and “cakes”.  She ran in the cold surf, turning her feet a purple color, but giggling the whole time.  She loved it all, despite the cool temperatures.  She *really* loved being able to get our spring dresses from storage.  She was thrilled to see some of her old favorites resurface.  (Although, I should have packed some warmer attire for all of us!)

We all had a great time!  It was super nice to have my in-laws there with four extra hands to help with the girls.  I guess some people would cringe at the thought of traveling with their in-laws, but I am not one of them.  Mine rock!  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Great Outdoors

So far, this has been a pretty cold winter.  The worst part about winter, especially with two small kiddos, is bundling them up to go outside- it take forever!  But, on this day, it was totally worth it.  On a whim,  Rhonda and I decided to change our plans of meeting at the library, to hiking down at Old Glory.  The weather was beautiful and not too cold.  It was the best decision we have made in a long time!  The kids had sooooo much fun.  They acted like they hadn't seen the light of day in weeks!  And, it's probably true that they hadn't been set free in it for awhile.  We also brought our visiting puppy along. 

Lila wanted to show Isa the hay loft first.  So, they crawled and squiggled through the "mouse holes" that Cam and Lila have constructed. 

Next, they checked out the tractor. 
I was playing with my new camera that day.  Rhonda took this nice pic of me sporting my handmade by Renata hat with Maggie.  I love the little smile on her face. 
I got this great shot of handsome Banyan.

After they scampered happily across the field, the older girls began building "a bed" out of large limbs.  Mostly, they hauled them all by themselves, but here, Banyan and Rhonda are in on the action.  The kids must have played for a good hour in this spot, carefree, happily constructing their imaginary space.  It was fabulous.  Rhonda and I had time to chat and catch up after what seemed like a far-too-long absence for moms who live within a couple miles of one another.  For such a cold day, it really made my heart warm to be surrounded by this family of choice.