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Thursday, June 11, 2009

6/13/06...We're back!

Hard to believe it's mid-June and I haven't updated since the end of May! It's been a busy couple of weeks! I had two days off after the end of school, and then we left for our Florida vacation. This week is the first time I've actually FELT like I was on vacation...because we all know that, while vacations with the kids are (most of the time) fun, they certainly aren't any kind of a break!

We spent two nights in Marietta, GA, with my aunt and uncle on the way down. That was really nice. My family always went to visit them for summer vacation when I was a kid. Back then, they lived in New Jersey. We had a wonderful time there, and they had a pool, which was a big deal to us--we could have spent the entire vacation in their back yard and had a blast!--so I have never shared in that disdain that so many people seem to have for New Jersey. Lots of happy memories there. But I digress. It was really nice for my kids to get some time with my aunt and uncle. They all got to know each other a little better, and now I think that my kids have an understanding of why my aunt and uncle are so special to me. And my aunt and uncle got to know the kids, as well (and liked them!! ), so it was good all around.

We spent the rest of our vacation camping at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City, FL, apparently also known as the "Redneck Riviera". There were certainly a lot of southern license plates in the campground, but I've always thought of "redneck" as being more a state of being than a physical location, so I'm not sure the nickname works for me. We had a wonderful, relaxing trip. We spent every day but one at the beach. Everybody got plenty of sun, but with liberal use of sunscreen and forced wearing of t-shirts for those overly pink midwestern bodies, we managed to avoid any major sunburns.

Jacob LOVED the beach. His beach. Every day when we pulled into the parking lot, he would get all excited and say, "It's my beach!! It's right over there!" Of course, that love for the beach made for some more difficult scenes when it was time to leave... The state park had a beach within its boundaries. It was about a 5-minute drive from our campsite, which was nice. The beach was actually along St. Andrews Bay, but the bay runs into the Gult of Mexico right next to our swimming beach. The water was SO clear!! And that white sand...just beautiful, and it didn't burn your feet!

So, we spent 6 days relaxing in the sun. The water was protected by a jetty, so it was pretty calm, and it was plenty shallow for Jacob to go out quite a ways with no problem. Of course, one of us was always right there with him. He had a great time wading, splashing, hunting for seashells, and building and destroying many a sand castle. It was good for the older kids, as well, because as the water got deeper (but very rarely over where they could touch), they could swim, snorkel the jetty, splash each other, and try very hard (and without much success) to master the skimboard.

We also rented a pontoon boat one day, which was surprisingly stressful. Neither of us had ever piloted a boat before, and the depth of the bay varied quite a bit. We were both worried about running aground and damaging the motor somehow, but we managed the day without any problems. We spent the boat day exploring Shell Island. We did some snorkeling and shelling on the bay side and then hiked across the sand to the Gulf side. Oh, my goodness. It's just SO beautiful over there! And the beach that we stopped to swim at had maybe 10 people in sight!
All in all, a great trip, but I'm glad to be home, around my own things, my own bed (well, the bed in the camper is ours, but it just isn't the same!), and --of course!--my computer again!

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