Thursday, March 05, 2009

Florida fun...

I guess Florida has been my favorite place to spend my birthday, so it was no surprise that I planned to do it again for the big "6-oh!" ...and since Rach had just reached her 30th in January,
she thought it would be fitting to come along. Owen and Gabriella made it a foursome as we traveled to the Sunshine State for a lonnnnnng weekend. Owen was excited to be going on an airplane again - his fourth plane trip in his short 2 1/2 years! A veteran by now, he came equipped with his portable DVD player, toys, books and his new "monkey" leash... I mean, back pack!
We flew into Ft. Meyers and went straight to Cape Coral, where we stayed in the comfortable Florida home of dear Aunt Vivi and Uncle Jim. It was just as we had remembered it; and we basked in the warm hospitality that is a constant there on Sunny Brook Court!

The focal point for these north-country escapees was the beautiful swimming pool! Warmed up to 80 degrees and kept spotless under Uncle's watchful eye, it was fully enjoyed by all of us. Owen delighted in throwing all of the toys and balls into the water while others retrieved them. The sun found its way to the patio every day and warmed us with its best Forida rays. Geckos darted on and off the sidewalk, staying just far enough away to prevent capture, but Owen enjoyed the hunt anyway, climbing under all of the deck chairs in the chase.

We all enjoyed spending time with Gramma Mimi, who enjoyed the role of co-hostess while we were there. She remembered with me all the birthdays I have spent in Florida in recent years. What fun! And, of course, everyone knows that G-ma is the birthday queen, remembering lots of special dates for lots of special people... It is nice to be remembered, even at my age!

Saturday's sunrise found us packing the van for the short drive north to spend the day at St. Pete Beach and the evening in Tampa with Lori Jo.
We enjoyed the view of the Tampa Bay bridge while Owen got his first splash in the water.
The skies were blue and the water a delicious green. We all enjoyed the fine white sand and hunting for shells. Owen even made friends with another two-year-old who shared his Thomas toys and beach balls with him. Always generous, Mimi shared her sandwich with the seagulls. (Almost shared her finger, too!)

It was fun (and important to all of us) to spend time with Lori Jo! It was great to learn more about her "world" where we walked around, explored Channelside and met her best friend, Erin. One thing she loves is that everything is within walking distance or a Trolley ride away. After taking Owen to a playground and having supper, we got to be part of the noisy exit of the pirate ship, Gasparilla, and we watched the revelers celebrate. Some of them tried to share their strings of beads with Owen, but he didn't want anything to do with it!
After dodging a few raindrops and then warming up with Starbucks, we spent the next morning at the Aquarium, another short walk away.
Mimi never misses an opportunity to give a geography lesson!
...and I need all of the geography lessons I can get. However, I must admit that my GPS has made my life a lot easier and even helped in getting us to all of our various destinations in Florida.
Owen was certain that he had found Nemo! He also found many other fish; many of which were much larger than he was. (Including a Grouper that may have grown to be 800 pounds!)
The sun came out in time for lunch and pictures in the outdoor play area. Owen played with his little toy Manatee - his favorite souvenir of the trip.

In the afternoon we took the Trolley back to our car and reluctantly left Lori in Tampa.

Not wanting to miss a minute of our last day in Cape Coral, Owen got us up at dawn. We took a ride to the pier and the beach where we enjoyed an early morning walk both directions along the beach;
we took one last chance to go to the park and then we spent the rest of our day enjoying the sun from the warmth of the patio and yard at Sunny Brook Court. Our visit was made even more special because we shared our time with other family visiting from the cold north!
Here's hoping that our Florida birthday trip will leave lasting memories for all of us!
Thank you Aunt Vivi, Uncle Jim, G-ma Mimi and Lori Jo!
It was a blast!