Florida Vacation 2013

IMG_3804A few weeks ago Ryan and I returned home from an incredible vacation in Florida with Aaron and Tracy. My parents took care of our girls for the week, so I got to spend some time catching up on sleep and getting mentally prepared to be a mother of THREE kiddos in a couple more weeks. This little break was just what we needed.IMG_1689IMG_1682

I am so thankful for the close friendship I have with my brother Aaron and my sister-in-law Tracy. Ryan and I truly have so much genuine fun when we get to hang out with Aaron and Tracy.

IMG_1590IMG_1666

I’m glad to be home with my girls again. I missed their little faces and their ongoing commentary of our days. It was such a great week! IMG_1692IMG_1693

In closing, here’s a recap of our entire “Real Florida” vacation. Yay!

Cocoa Beach and Jimmy Hula’s
Kayaking at Wekiva Springs State Park
Scenic Boat Tour and The Lake House
Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park
Boating on the Intracoastal Waterway

Florida Vacation – Boating on the Intracoastal Waterway

IMG_1533 IMG_1536Tracy’s parents let us take their boat (The Mary Lou) out for a day on the Intracoastal Waterway. It was Memorial Day weekend so everyone and their brother were out on the water. It was like a high-class version of what happens on sand bars in Michigan lakes on the 4th of July. Instead of pontoon boats parked out there, they were yachts… but the people on board were just as “Michigan” as you’d see in a Kid Rock video. I loved it.IMG_1539

IMG_1542IMG_1549IMG_1552As the tide went out, Aaron anchored us at a few sand bars where we could take a swim, look for sand dollars and hermit crabs, and run around on the sand. Tracy found this little tide pool on one sand bar. Her own little private oasis.IMG_3790IMG_3793IMG_3803IMG_1543

It was a truly glorious day on to be on the water. The weather was perfect. We packed a cooler and ate our lunch aboard the S.S. Mary Lou.IMG_1544IMG_1559

After hitching up the boat to Aaron’s truck and dropping it back off at Tracy’s parents lake house we picked up some “award-winning” burger meat at Cavallari in Oveido and headed home for a grill out.

Florida Vacation – Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park

Last year when we visited Aaron and Tracy we discovered Kelly Park and decided that it needed to become a tradition with every visit. Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park is a 72 degree, spring-fed, natural lazy river you float down. Each “run” takes about 25 minutes, then you walk on a path back to the beginning of the river and jump in again.IMG_1517

Most people rent tubes from the Tube King, but this year we decided to bring some pool noodles to see how those work. Aaron and Ryan were hilarious discovering many ways to float with pool noodles.IMG_3781IMG_3785

IMG_3773We made a train.

IMG_3779IMG_3784After a few hours floating down the river and soaking in the sunshine we headed home to shower before meeting some of my cousins for dinner at the Mellow Mushroom. Josh brought his son Noah and Joel and Lizzy brought their son Luke, who told me a hilarious joke:

“knock knock”
“who’s there?”
“Jada and Ella!”   …that’s it. that’s the end. hahaha. IMG_1521

Florida Vacation – Kayaking at Wekiva Springs State Park

Wednesday morning Aaron and Ryan made delicious blueberry waffles for breakfast. We packed lunch in the cooler and went to Wekiva Springs State Park for some kayaking. The weather said 60% chance of rain, which was awesome because it scared everyone away and we pretty much had the whole park to ourselves.IMG_1490

Bug spray was liberally applied as soon as we arrived.IMG_3751

We rented our kayaks and then saw this little gopher tortoise. One of the park rangers gave Tracy a piece of lettuce to feed him and we made a video of the tortoise for Ruby and Clara.

IMG_3752

Here’s the classic shot by the kayak launch… my life jacket wouldn’t buckle around my preggo-ness. awesome.

IMG_3756

The sun was shining bright and we started down the river. Aaron and Tracy in one double kayak and Ryan and I in another. We laughed a lot as we made our way though the wilderness. We saw a lot of cool Floridian birds, turtles and alligators. Aaron had polarized sunglasses so he saw a lot of fish too. Tilapia and Mullet were a couple that he pointed out.

IMG_3760

IMG_3762

We paddled for a while, then floated for a while, then paddled some more. Aaron found some secret passes where we had to duck under cypress trees just to get through. Ryan lost his sunglasses, but managed to pick them up off the riverbed without tipping us over. After more laughing and paddling we had traveled quite a distance down the river. We decided to head back, which meant paddling up-stream the whole way. My view was awesome.

IMG_3766

IMG_3768

The sun shone bright throughout our kayak trip. After a couple of hours on the water we landed back at the spot where we started. We grabbed our lunch out of the car and had a picnic with a herd of squirrels by the spring. After lunch we took a swim in the always 72-degree spring water. It was sunny for a while, then the rain let loose. It was pretty great swimming in a spring during a downpour. Don’t worry – we got out when the thunder and lightning started.

IMG_3769

IMG_1497Later Wednesday night Rob and Kristy-Lee and their baby Emma-Kate came over for kabobs on the grill. Of course, here’s the classic guys at the grill pic. And here’s a look back at the guys in 2011, and 2012IMG_1502

Such a great day.