Saturday, April 3, 2010

Family Fun in Florida

Some of my favorite childhood memories centered on an annual spring break week in Florida. Every March my family made the pilgrimage down to the Sunshine State to enjoy sandy beaches, glassy pools and most importantly time with my snow bird grandparents. The weeks were magical: a time where subtropical play collided with impromptu family reunions.

Fortunately, we've continued this tradition with our family. Every spring break, we gather the kids and head south for the week: Naples, Florida to be exact. We bring four kids, three suitcases, three backpacks and our secret sanity sustaining weapon: Grandma and Grandpa! This year we even had Uncle Matt and Aunt Heather with extra hands and bigger hearts! (Great Aunt Kathyrn and Great Uncle Gary even joined our group for a night!)

The week didn't disappoint. The kids adored splashing around in the pool. They waded in the liquid basins until they shriveled. When their hands turned scaly, we hit the beach. The boys spent their time hunting for coastal wildlife. They loved to spot jellyfish resting in the sand and hunt for lizards scurrying among the beach brush.

I think their favorite memories of the week centered on individual "dates" with Grandma and Grandpa. Being one of four, individual time is a huge luxury for the boys. Grandma and Grandpa took the boys to places we wouldn't dare attempt with four boys in tow. Each of the older boys went miniature golfing (golf clubs and four boys, no way!) and a shell shop (breakables galore, need I say more!). The afternoon was topped off with a trip to the ice cream store. Cooper went to a train museum. (One of Cooper is still too much in a shell store!!)

Thinking about the week makes me recall what a soldier bound for Iraq told us in the airport. When we were boarding our flight to Florida, I was aware we might not be the most popular family on the plane. Bringing four little ones on a plane can produce a lot of eye rolling and sighs from other passengers as they anticipate all the commotion our crew could generate. I apologized to the solider for any potential disruption we could make on the flight. He responded with a smile and answered, "You're making family memories, that's what is important." He's right. Our week was rich with memories, and the best ones centered on family.

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