So there was this thing that happened a couple of months ago. It was pretty cool. Maybe you've heard of it or perhaps experienced it yourself. It's called "va-ca-tion." It's where you go away from your own home and go to another place and relax and do fun stuff. Sounds amazing, right?
Well, from what I can remember of it, it was amazing. But it was in July, and we are nearly into a whole 'nother season now, so I don't know if I'll get the details right. But I'll try. (Hmm...look at pictures and reminisce about sitting on a beach, eating good food, and relaxing? Twist my arm.)
We don't take a vacation every year. Some years we just take the kids away for a few days to some place close to home. Some years we don't go anywhere. But this year, this year we got away from it all. We went someplace we had heard of but never been and we all loved it. This year, we visited Captiva Island, Florida.
Captiva is a small barrier island on the Gulf coast near Ft. Myers. It is just north of it's slightly bigger, better known sister Sanibel. And when I say small, I really mean it. It's only about 4 miles long and a half mile wide. When I tell you that we were just a two minute walk to the beach from our house, I'm not exaggerating. Like Sanibel, Captiva's beaches are a treasure for shell seekers.
We left on July 6th--our 21st anniversary. (Nothing says "I've loved spending the last two decades with you" like air travel with 4 children and a 4 hour layover in an airport. Or maybe not. But we still liked each other when we finally landed in Florida, so it's all good.) We stayed for 10 days. We spent the first day in
Walmart shopping for supplies (it only felt like we spent the entire day there) the hotel while we waited until we could get into our house. We picked up Maggie's friend Emily* got some lunch, bought groceries and such, and headed for the island.
Our home was lovely. The kids were terribly excited that we had our own pool (Night swimming!!) but we wasted no time heading down to the beach, as Sean and Mary had never seen the ocean. Mary's reaction was well worth the headaches of the airport and Walmart.
We spent most of our time divided between the beach and the pool. The kids swam, built sand castles, and caught fighting conchs and lizards. I walked the beach picking up shells. My beloved stood guard over everything making me repeatedly say: "Relax. It's your vacation, too. Reeelaaaax." Somewhere around Tuesday, he finally got the message.
We ate ice cream. We ate gator. We ate deep fried duck fingers. Some of us took YOLO watersports up on their offer and went parasailing. (After all, You Only Live Once!) We saw dolphins and manatees. Some of us went on a banana boat. We found beautiful shells by the handful. We got tanned. Or burned depending on whether you have pigment like me, or are pale as a ghost, like my beloved. We swam in the pool. We caught a tortoise. We caught lizards. We had a snake! (On our pool decking! Believe me, it was quite an event and totally worth the exclamation points!) We ate shrimp. We saw talking parrots. We watched movies. We saw beautiful birds. We played Bulls*it. (It should be noted, that while my children are very good at lying, I am very good at detecting their lies. And also, I'm even better at lying than they are. As it should be.) We saw some of the most spectacular sunsets ever. We saw rainbows. And double rainbows. We gasped at the beautiful million dollar homes. We marveled at the beauty of the island--an area so very different from what we are used to (especially the lush greenness after our hot, dry summer where everything was brown and crispy by early July). We laughed. A lot. We slept in. We enjoyed our time together.
In all, it was very much as a vacation should be. And it was one of the few places I've ever been with my beloved where he talked about someday going back. That right there is all the endorsement needed. Plus, I didn't get stuck in my swimsuit, so you know, that's a bonus. Heh.
*Emily is Maggie's friend since first grade. She moved to Ft. Myers at the end of second grade, but they have kept in touch and Emily has stayed with us many times when her family has come back to Indy to visit family and friends. While we were there, her family was packing up and spending their final days in Florida as they were relocating back to Indy. Needless to say, the girls were thrilled to spend a couple days together on Captiva, knowing that they would get to see each other a bunch once Emily's family moved back.
And now, I'll just leave you with the pictures. There are a ton of them. Feel free to walk away and pretend that you looked. But trust me, I have a butt-ton (that's the official measurement) of sunset photos alone, so you got off easy.
|Emily and Maggie|
|First dip in the ocean.|
|I will protect my family from All The Things!|
|Who knew there were so many ways to torture people with a pool noodle?|
|Ice cream! (First of several.)|
|About a tenth of all the shells we brought home.|
|Waiting to eat at the Island Cow.|
|Ma boahs like dat gatuh!|
|Racing the waves.|
|Getting ready to parasail.|
|Pale power, activate!|
|Apparently we love each other, beach hair and all.|
|Doing the Captiva Crouch to find shells.|
|Doing the Sanibel Stoop to look for bling to add to the collection.|
|Poor girl went to see the sunset with an icepack on her head because of an itchy sunburn.|
|Building a sandcastle.|
|Another beautiful sunset--seen through rain clouds.|
|Our path to the beach in silhouette.|
|Another beautiful sunset.|
|Pointing out dolphins.|
|Key lime cheesecake at the Mucky Duck.|
|Playing BS. Liars! You're ALL liars!|