Tag Archives | Vacation

Best of Summer

Since I haven’t blogged in 3 months…a recap seems like the most appropriate way to restart.  Notice, it is called “Best of Summer” – I have left out the 2 year old tantrum moments, the awesome new recipes that I didn’t try and my window box/planter fail…so…without further ado, here is a peek into the best moments of a great summer:

Summer began early for us…we headed down to our favorite New Smyrna Beach, FL and were delighted to be joined by the Stokes family for a few days!
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We had to visit our sentimental place on the Indian River.
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And we found some fun new places…

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Staying in a small condo that, at high tide, felt like we were actually on the water was heavenly – especially since the upkeep was so easy. Every morning, Rand would line up his animals. I would say his summer fascinations have been: animals, fishing, golf (his own versions of the last two, of course)

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So it was especially cool, if not somewhat unnerving to me, to see the fisherman catch exciting things each day.
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We had a special evening with my Great Aunt Bebe, who Rand got to meet for the first time
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And Wes and I got to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary (10! I know!!!)
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With Sangria at our favorite New Smyrna restaurant, The Spanish River Grill.
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The highlight of the day was that we found out our Dossier officially went to China…a huge milestone in the adoption process for us…more on that to come.
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Who are those two young love birds???
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We also got to share the end of our trip with my mom, or “Ema” as Rand calls her, and got to see more family, including the Wallis cousins! Rand was overjoyed to get so much attention. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone!
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Coming home wasn’t so hard because the Kings came to visit! Here’s a photo of Jackson and Rand perfecting their snow cone eating skills:
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We are finally enjoying our pool (it warmed up mid-June!) this year too! Rand loves to walk around it and “fish” and he enjoys rescuing bugs and frogs with the pool net.
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Rand got to spend time with both of his grandmothers (and his pops and Aunt MD too!)
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The boys did a little more “fishing”
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I did a lot of blackberry picking
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and I figured out that Rand and I both share a love for the “Go Green” smoothie at 195 Nature’s Own. It has been our “special snack” place!
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This next photo deserves its very own post – the most major event of the summer – we were blessed with a new niece. Sweet baby Kara was born at the end of June (that’s right, we’re not even to July yet)! Here she is less than 24 hours old.
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Another important summer event included James’ ordination as a deacon in the Episcopal Church.
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We spent time with Wes’ family at Myrtle Beach (don’t let my amazing sis-in-law fool you – this photo was less than 10 days after baby Kara was born! We are all taking lessons from Jax and Matt on how to rally.
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Rand and MJ got to have some quality time that also involved lots of bubbles, duck feeding and swimming
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which all make for one happy kid
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We visited the Myrtle Beach Aquarium – which was awesome!!!  But then we realized they make  you exit THROUH the gift shop, which is also on the opposite side of the building as the baby ducks that Rand saw outside.  So going home was not as fun…
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We also took a trip to Wilmington to hear James preach on his first Sunday at his new church.
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And then we stayed for lunch and snuggles.  It is also important to note that this was the day that Rand first met “Buster” and “Maggie” – they are James and Samantha’s 2 dogs who have unknowingly been prayed for 2x a day (nap and bedtime) every day since.
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Overall we did a lot of swimming (bathtub, pool, ocean and lake)

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It was a good summer and we were so blessed to be able to enjoy all the “new” things with a 2-year-old!

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Happy Birthday Matt!

Happy Birthday to my (favorite) brother-in-law Matt.  Matt is one of the most fun people in our growing family and I’m looking forward to all the family adventures ahead – with and without snorkels.

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Home away from home

We just spent the past two weeks at our 2nd home – New Smyrna Beach, FL.  We’ve visited every summer but, this year, due to my grandmother’s illness, we pushed the trip back to the Fall.  I think we’ll visit in the Fall from now on.  It was nice to have temps in the 80s and low 90s vs over 100 degrees. The water was definitely warm enough for swimming.

Plus, we almost had the beach to ourselves (I even took this photo on a Saturday!)

We visited all of our old favorite restaurants (with no wait time!) like JB’s Fishcamp, the Spanish River Grill (just ask Wes about his Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Maple Bacon and a Fresh Farm Egg that he had for brunch…) and a new addition, the Taco Shack. It is exactly what it sounds like, except for Monday night we lucked out with $1 tacos, yummy queso and sangria!

Ocean’s Seafood was still crowded…

Not just with people…

 

But most days we just ate in.  I’m obsessed with Publix and wish we had one here at home.  We got some great things while we were there but my favorite had to be the Wheat Italian 5-Grain bread.  We stocked up before we left.

We had an entire week all to ourselves and enjoyed showing Rand the beach, relaxing and being a family of 3. Since Rand wasn’t really ready to “beach it” all day, we did some other fun things like visiting the local farmers’ market

where we bought some yummy mangrove honey to have on our Publix Wheat Italian 5-grain toast, experienced the local life

and lingered around to watch the boats sail in.

It was a full week of sunrises, sunsets and sea air.

After a whole week to ourselves, the family arrived and that was fun too. Rand got some quality time with his uncle Sam

He cheered up his “Beebo” who had lots of good stories about Florida

He met his Granny (on the Franklin side) – they really hit it off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we hung out with uncle Sam some more.

After our “Geah’s” memorial service in Orlando, Rand got to meet lots of family.

Including his cousin (twice removed???) Rand. Here are some of the “Rands.”

It was sad to not have Geah with us – singing the songs and reading the scriptures she chose.  Rand cheered us all up with lots of kisses though.  His Geah would be proud.

 

We also tried to get a good family photo, but I just finished looking at them and there wasn’t a single one with all 3 of us looking at the camera.  Oh well.


The only downside to the trip…it was the end of “love bug” season. The Tahoe really took one for the team.

Is anyone still here?  This post is almost as long as our trip.  I still have a wildlife kayaking adventure to tell you about, but I’ll save it for the next post.

Finally, it was time to go home just as the rain set in.  Which made leaving a little easier.

Reminds me of a song I sing to Rand each night before bed…

Jesus, let us come to know you,
Let us see you face to face.
Touch us, hold us, use us, mold us,
Only let us, live in you.

Jesus, draw us ever nearer,
Hold us in your loving arms.
Wrap us in your gentle presence,
When the rains come bring us home.
(by Michael Card)

 

And so we’re home. For now.

Update: Speaking of bedtime songs…check out my guest post on fellow mom Johanna’s 101 Things I Love Blog


	
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Friday Photo Flashback

April 2008

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So…I thought it would be fun each Friday to randomly choose a photo and just write whatever I remember about it.  Shuffling through (Yay for 3-fingers on the Mac trackpad.  Love it.) I found this sunny pic.  The photo itself isn’t much, but it makes me wish I was back on this vacation with Wes at the Eden Rock in St. Barts (side note: Best vacation ever. If you have a chance to go to St. Barts, GO. It is beautiful.)

While sunning on the beach, I persuaded Wes to go with me on a swim…around the “Eden rock.” From our point of view (and the view of the photo) it didn’t look far at all.

Moral of the story – don’t trust me when it comes to judging distance. “Oh, it really is just down the road.”  Right, I have heard myself use that one before too. Here’s an aerial I found online:

Eden Rock
Yellow Arrow – Place where I had to tread water and wait on Wes, wishing I had some goggles or a mask/snorkel to check out the reef below.  It was also here I learned that not all great athletes are great swimmers.  He wanted to turn back, “Oh it is just a little bit farther,” I convinced us.

Pink Arrow – Romantic outdoor table where we sat that evening, eating an extravagant French meal as we watched the sharks circling below.

Here’s another view.  Just for fun.  Definitely not the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had.  It was a not-so-direct barefoot walk back to our beach chairs as neither of us wanted to swim it again.

(this Image via: Hotelology.com)

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