In December, my family and I embarked on a two week long vacation to Florida. We drive straight through...from Wisconsin! Yeah, we're pretty amazing:) Seriously though, if you are planning a similar journey, my only advice is: don't make plans! Picture this: three children (8, 2 1/2 and 10 mos), a Jeep Grand Cherokee (that's right folks- no mini-van!) and very little leftover space! We tried to make it as easy as possible on everyone- we left at night before bedtime and had the kids dressed in pjs, we had a portable DVD player, portable snacks and drinks, coloring books and art supplies. We thought it would be a breeze, drive straight through and wake up in Florida! Not so much. We had two sets of diapers to change and with all of the coffee breaks, I needed bathroom breaks as much as the kids. I couldn't seem to fall asleep while Nick drove, and when I finally got in a few naps, it was 2am and my turn to drive! Once the kids awoke the next day, Liam and Olivia had little fights here and there, more bathroom breaks, crappy coffee and then we had to meet St. Nicholas at a truck stop so that the kids would get their treats! :) He sent us a text you know. Olivia was very concerned that he would forget about us, seeing as we were driving cross country and all. Luckily, Nick is very creative when he's put on the spot!
Our first stop was to see family in Orlando where we invaded their home for 5 whole days. It's nice to have family in warm places! We spent one (very long, very expensive) day at Magic Kingdom, a first for all of us! If you've never been, it's an experience. I would love to go back in a few years, stay onsite at one of their resorts and spread it out a few days. If you try to get through it all, I think you spend too much time stressing out on the things you don't want to miss! We visited "Uncle" Michael in Cocoa Beach where he was working on sport fishing charter-the kids loved being on the boat, especially Liam!
We spent the latter part of the trip in Ft Myers Beach, a little place called Estero Island right outside of the main beach area. We got our condo for a steal and had a private beach all to ourselves. The weather was a little warmer (averaged mid 60's), but the sun was out and we were having snowstorms back home, so no complaints here! We were outside everyday and found more shells than we could've found at the famed Sanibel Island. Olivia and I walked the beach a few times and spent time throwing back all of the little conchs (live ones) that had washed ashore. The cold weather was causing a change in the tide that basically was washing all of the creatures from the bottom of the ocean, up to the top. It was sad seeing the beach littered with horsehoe crabs and sea critters everyday so we did our little bit to help:) Nick attempted fishing a few times but had no luck:( The best part was seeing the dolphins jumping in the bay, right in front of us! Redbox became our best friend at night (it was chilly!) and Liam had quite a few meltdowns, but overall it was a wonderful time spent with those I love:) Next time though, Nick and I think that a vacation sans kids is in order! Or, in the least, we will plan to go to Florida when they aren't experiencing their coldest Winter in history!