Monday, March 22, 2010

Florida, 2010

If you didn't already know, I am in love with what has become our winter tradition of a trip to Florida. Not only for the much needed break from Ohio snow and ice, but because my grandma is there and she does her best to make her house our home for the time we stay with her. And like anyone and their grandma, I really can't get enough of her. Oh, and the sunshine, of course!

This year's trip was different from any other for a lot of reasons. This was our first trip down since my grandpa's passing, God love him. I haven't blogged about it previously, but my grandpa was an amazing man and a pillar in our family. I'm even more grateful than ever for our Florida vacations in the past in that he was able to meet both of our kids and even though they may be too young to remember him, they'll be able to see his pictures with them and know that they were such an important part of his life.

Another hardship that our family had to face was the untimely passing of my Aunt Sandie who also lived in Florida and my grandma's oldest daughter. Her death happened only a week prior to our already scheduled visit. For this, my dad and my Aunt Shirley remained with my grandma for the duration of our time there as well. In the deepest sadness, we found joy. Being together as a family, supporting one another and sharing laughter and memories brought us all a step closer to healing.

Without dwelling on our sadness, we made the most of our trip, filling our days with fun and togetherness.
Do you want to know what I absolutely love about this picture?
It reminds of me of last year when my grandpa played music for us. Lincoln was surely captivated.
And about that little Lincoln of mine, did I mention that he came down with croup the week before we left? He seemed to be better just prior to our trip and then we arrived in Florida. And the coughing began. Croup again, which his prescription medicine couldn't even touch. Croup which caused him to be unable to breathe without coughing for a whole 2 minute stretch. Croup which landed us in the Urgent Care for an antibiotic. As an added bonus, he picked up the start of an ear infection somewhere along the way. My little Trooper!
Speaking of added bonus: despite the unfortunate circumstances, it was really nice having my dad assuming his Grandpa role while we were there.
Never mind the windblown hair and the unprepared smiles, this picture was taken just before we boarded a 2 hour boat ride for a Family Fun cruise which my grandma arranged.
It was easily the highlight of our time there for all of us. They had exotic animals for the kids to touch. (yes, that would be an alligator that my son is petting!)
They had face painting which made for toddler sized pirates and unicorn fairy girls! (I hope they don't expect me to do this at home!)
And best of all, they had a dance contest which Elaina entered, and WON!! I seriously thought my heart may have sprung a leak as it was about to burst with pride! Even though the winner was chosen by audience applause, and we did happen to have 6 very loud and very proud family members cheering our girl on, many of the other guests applauded Elaina and easily made her the winner. OH, was she ever cute!!!
As the winner, she received a goody bag full of candy, a gift certificate for the cruise line, a super large milkshake of her choice AND she got to steer the boat with the captain! My four year-old, commanding the ship! Her mother beaming!
With this, treasured memories were made, sorrows were laid aside and we look forward to many more great trips to be with my grandma. And after all of this, can you believe that this is only a part of our Florida trip this year??? This year, we added a second leg to our tour. Stay tuned!

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