Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Florida Finds

 Cooper literally jumped for joy at seeing the beach.  After leaving our snow-covered state for Florida, I think we all felt equally elated.
 The boys found some beautiful shells on the beach.  As beach novices, we were shocked that our "finds" came with animal inhabitants.  Collin got quite a scare (and education)!  Those pretty shells got tossed back to the ocean.

 We meet up with the Seiler family in Florida.  Between the two families, we have eight boys!

 The best thing about vacationing with the Grandparents is that we had built in babysitters for date night!
 Caleb was beyond giddy at meeting up with this fella!
Chris can truthfully tell his friends that he wrestled an alligator.  If you look real closely, he's clutching an alligator!
 Hooked up with Grandma and Grandpa Wood a few days too!
 My four beach babies!
 A beach pic.  Love Collin's expression.  There always has to be at least one that's not thrilled with the day's activities!
 Caleb's not a huggy kid, so I absolutely love this picture of him snuggling up to his Grandpa!
 We attempted a few restaurants with the kids, making sure to bring plenty of crayons!
 Caleb was excited to visit the Edison Home with Grandma and Grandpa!
 A family picture before dinner!
 With Grandma and Grandpa Joseph!
 Cooper liked playing lots of games.  He seemed to always win thanks to his ever changing version of the rules.
 Papa and Caleb at the Edison home.
 Caleb served as my running partner three mornings in Florida and helped me prepare to run the Naples 10K on Sunday. 
With Grandma and Grandpa Wood!

Last night we unpacked the suitcases.  I pulled out a plastic baggie filled with sand-covered shells.  They weren't pretty ones, like the kind you buy at those shells stores that sit on every corner in  Florida.  Many of these shells were broken fragments all plucked from the beach by my boys and immediately deemed "finds" and "keepers."

I gazed at the bag with disdain.  Another handful of "stuff" that will liter our home.  I mentally placed it in the same category as the trinkets they bring home from fairs and the plastic doodads we get in goody bags.  How desperately I wanted to toss the whole bag and then feign surprise when four little boys searched endlessly for their Florida treasures.

But I imagine these shells mean more to them than the yo-yos and animal erasers.  These shells remind them of a week in Florida with family, lots of family...two sets of Grandparents!  

When they look at the shells, do they see the beach?  Do they remember spotting dolphins in the water and scanning the shore for crabs and starfish?  Do they recall meals spent with Grandparents and endless hours horsing around with a brother in the pool?  

And so the shells stay.  When I look at them, I remember.

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