Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Starting 2016 in Florida

For our Christmas gift from Zack's parents, we were fortunate to get a trip to Florida.  Mike and Mary Ann spend January and February in a condo in Fort Myers, FL so we flew down from January 1-10.  We first spent a few days with my great friend Paola and her fiance Pete in Tampa and then spent the rest of the time in Fort Myers.  It was a wonderful vacation and we are so thankful to have received this special gift.

Here is how the vacation played out...

We flew into Tampa, got our rental car and headed to Paola and Pete's in Dunedin.  Paola is a wonderful friend who I taught with in Tampa for the two years I lived there.  We were pretty much inseparable.  She has always be a loyal, dedicated friend who has been there to turn to in life's ups and downs.  Of course she was a wonderful host and it was hard for the girls to leave "Auntie Paola's" after being showered with attention for three days.

While visiting Paola and Pete we went to Clearwater Beach and even ate at one of my old favorites, Frenchy's!

The next day we went to the Dunedin farmer's market, walked to the marina, played at the playground, had a yummy lunch out, and went to Honeymoon Island.  Ava and Reese enjoyed nibbling on the center of the fresh pineapple one of the vendors was cutting.

The last morning we were there we strolled their neighborhood and Ava made sure to wave to all the cars that passed.

Sunday afternoon we traveled to Fort Myers and spent the rest of the day with Nana and Pappy inside, out of the rain.  Monday we went to Fort Myers Beach and walked the trail around the condo.  

Tuesday we spent in Orlando at Magic Kingdom.  We pulled into the parking lot at 8:45am and pulled out of the parking lot at 8:30pm.  Let's just say we were all exhausted but it was a wonderful day.  The girls got to meet Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Belle.  A highlight was when our Ava Belle was chosen to dance with Belle during the Beauty and the Beast experience.  I have to admit I teared up but I told a couple friends and they assured me that Disney has that affect on people.  One of my friends even admitted to crying at the Shamu show at Sea World so I didn't feel as silly!  Us crazy mamas!  We also rode plenty of rides!

Wednesday we went shelling on Sanibel Island while daddy and Pappy played golf.

Thursday was a low-key day with time spent at the outlet mall and the pool at Nana and Pappy's condo.

Friday we went to Manatee Park to see manatee.  There were plenty to see but not great picture opportunities other than the statue!  We also spent more time in the pool.  We went out for pizza for dinner and the girls got to play with pizza dough while we waited.

Saturday the girls and Pappy had an early morning coloring session, more time at the pool, and off to the park for exploring, a mini-train ride, and playing at the playground.

Sunday we went back to Sanibel Island for early morning shelling, dolphin-watching, and delicious doughnuts.  That afternoon we went to the Cape Coral Festival of Arts.  We were trying to soak up every last minute since we were leaving the next morning.

Monday morning we flew back to Kansas City and the girls crashed in the car from the airport heading back home.  This is an obvious sign of a fantastic vacation!  Thank you Nana and Pappy!